The freelancer, this increasingly important business collaborator

A talent shortage has fueled a strong trend among young professionals with new aspirations, according to a study.

From a marginal phenomenon, the use of freelancers in companies is becoming a major trend in French clubs. This phenomenon has accelerated in recent months with the lack of talent in many sectors.

The appetite of young employees for this status, which offers a quality of life consisting of more freedom and independence, and the current context of shortages means that “freelancing is living for a long time”, says a study* conducted for recruitment specialist Cooptalis. Especially since these independents are already in a position of strength.

“Their status as independent, external and free, does not hinder their hiring due to the risk of lack of resources to ensure the development of projects. Therefore, freelancers are now in a position to choose their missions and their working conditions. work, summarizes this study. For their part, companies are beginning to develop appropriate HR and management strategies to attract and better manage new external resources this and to maintain these naturally variable profiles.”

In fact, 44% of the companies surveyed increased the number of their freelancers this year, according to this study and 57% did so in the face of shortages in their sectors of activity or to have of access to a particular expertise.

A strong presence in small technology companies

Unsurprisingly, they are found in smaller tech companies where they may represent more than 30% of the workforce in 61% of the startups surveyed. In the majority of SMEs (88%), they constitute less than 5% of the workforce.

In fact, the larger the company, the fewer there are: in the large accounts examined, freelancers represented only 1 to 5% of the workforce. But “some large groups are already using it extensively so as not to hinder their growth projects (especially digital). freelance rules“, can we read.

Not only are they more and more, but their assignments, in the sense of being limited to one project, are also getting longer and longer. 43% of companies surveyed cite assignments that last several months.

Longer assignments, stronger integration: an employee like no other?

“The difficulty of finding the right profiles in some sectors pushes companies to extend assignments regardless of the cost. Many of them also hope that, by extending the duration of the contract, they will have more possibility to turn freelancers into internal employees” , the study underlined.

And if the freelancer often remains an actor who works from home with multi-clients, the companies that use more and more of them seek to combine them even more. In order for freelancers to participate more in social life, in projects and in management rituals, companies are increasingly applying their presence policies to freelancers.

In other words, the freelancer becomes almost an employee like any other, without restrictions. Enough to persuade “classic” employees to seriously consider going freelance…

More and more employees are requesting a change of status

Thus, 58% of companies using freelancing have had cases of employees requesting to freelance. What else is increasing the cohorts of these employees in companies. Note that according to another study, 40% of employees in France say they want to live on their post-Covid account.

These aspirations – which go beyond the desire for full or hybrid telework, particularly among the youngest and the balance of power in favor of workers – are once again questioning the traditional model of wage labor and working hours.

Can the sacrosanct CDI be replaced by a ‘customer/supplier’, ‘customer/freelance’ relationship?

“Perhaps not universally, but it is true that certain types of company relations can coexist, CDI or not CDI. And that quickly causes another problem: France is very structured around CDI, it will be necessary it examines the plans. If tomorrow you have 30% of people who are in the service model, we cannot say that the self-entrepreneurship model is crazy good in terms of social protection,” he explained. A little about BFM Business Benoit Serre, Vice-president of ANDRH and HRD of L’Oréal France.

“I don’t know if we will go to the end of the wage system, but it is true that we will go to a contractually different labor market. We know that the number of teleworkable professions is expanding. If tomorrow you have a job in France, which includes of 50 or 60% of people who telework partially, we must ask ourselves the question of working time but above all its accounting”, he concluded.

*: interviews conducted by survey from July 1 to September 10, 2021 with 526 HRDs or CEOs of French companies representing a representative panel of all company sizes.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

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