Summary:

A survey conducted by British online labor platform Freelancer.co.uk confirms earlier findings from competitor site PeoplePerHour that showed UK businesses are hiring more independent workers, indicating that the much discussed rise of the “gig economy” is a transatlantic phenomenon.

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Just a few weeks ago, British online labor platform PeoplePerHour released survey findings showing that British small businesses are increasing relying on freelance talent. It wasn’t a hard result to believe considering the crescendo of chatter about the rise of independent workers and the “gig economy” on this side of the pond, but if you’re a skeptic looking for even more evidence, there is now some on offer.

PeoplePerHour competitor Freelancer.co.uk has released its own findings from a survey of 12,000 businesses that used the service. The company found UK businesses increased their spending on freelancers by 134 percent this year, hiring talent from around the world. The company chalks this impressive growth up to the intense economic pressures British small businesses are under.

With a global workforce of more than three million highly skilled but affordable freelancers, it is little wonder that Britain’s small businesses have started outsourcing their work to secure and boost the bottom line. They are increasingly taking advantage of freelancers offering a range of skills to support their businesses. Without them bankruptcy rates in the UK could be much higher,” said Saif Bonar, Freelancer.co.uk UK Manager, adding, “with Government support and lending from banks coming up short, small businesses have realized if they don’t outsource they won’t survive.”

In an email accompanying the release, a Freelancer.co.uk spokesperson also noted that the steep rise in the use of freelancers reflects larger shifts in the labor market as well as short-term stress on budgets, and pointed to the work of London Business School professor Lynda Gratton, which describes these changes, including a greater reliance by businesses on independent talent. We’ve covered her ideas, including tips to “futureproof” your career here on GigaOM before.

Where will the shift toward more freelance work be quickest – Europe, the US or somewhere else?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Iker Merodio.

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