The rise of the freelance manager

Trend watch: When the recovery comes, you may want to think twice about rehiring permanent staff.

by Orianna Rosa Royle

The gig economy isn’t just for Uber drivers. Since 2008, there’s been a 46 per cent increase in the number of highly-skilled self-employed people in the UK, with 560,000 freelancing as managers, directors or senior officials, and 680,000 in professional occupations.

Largely this has been driven by the white collar self-employed themselves, drawn by the greater flexibility and, arguably, favourable tax regimes. But the numbers suggest employers too have seen the benefits of engaging high-end contractors. 

The unprecedented availability of temporary talent is likely to present a dilemma for businesses in the coming year as - with any luck - the economy starts to pick up again from its COVID trough: Should they rehire the permanent workforce lost in this wave of redundancies, or would it be wiser to go for giggers instead?

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