Freelancers meet demand for public sector digital projects

Freelance digital project workers have been enjoying a boom in the number of jobs being advertised by public sector organisations, according to newly-released data from freelance network PeoplePerHour.com.

The website, which has a network of over 120,000 on its database, witnessed a 315 per cent increase in the number of postings of digital work, such as programming jobs and graphic design jobs, over the last 12 months. This vast increase has in part been put down to an increased demand for digital freelancers in the public sector, which has had to cut thousands of full-time jobs as part of the government’s austerity measures.

The private sector has utilised the talents of freelancers extensively over the last few years in order to lower costs during the recession. However, it is only recently that the public sector has had to follow suit.

PeoplePerHour.com founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou has seen invoicing for digital job projects on his site increase sevenfold over the last 12 months.

He said: “When the recession hit, the private sector was quick to respond to the new economic reality by shedding permanent staff and engaging freelancers instead,” he says. “Thousands of UK businesses quickly realized this was the best way to stay lean and remain solvent in the face of testing economic conditions.”

“The public sector had no such imperative and continued employing and retaining fulltime staff. However, since the government started slashing budgets, the public sector has been forced to find a more cost effective and efficient approach to human resources.”

With unemployment levels having hit a 17-year high of 2.53 million, more and more people may consider offering their services as a freelancer, and Xenios Thrasyvoulou is keen for the public sector not to miss out on opportunities to benefit from the services of a talented freelance workforce.

He said: “It’s clear from our figures that the public sector has learnt a lot from the private sector about the benefits of using freelancers.”