15 Reasons Why Companies Hire Freelancers in 2023

15 Reasons Why Companies Hire Freelancers in 2023

Companies that aim to remain competitive in 2023 and beyond are modernizing their talent strategy. Instead of narrowly thinking the only way to get more work done is by hiring more full-time employees, savvy businesses are taking a 360-degree view of talent.

From this broader view, they see that the best way to remain competitive and reduce risk is by hiring more freelancers. But that’s not groundbreaking news. According to an Upwork survey, most (62%) companies already hire freelance talent.

So what’s different in 2023? Hiring freelancers may be the best way for businesses to stay competitive.

Why are more companies hiring freelancers?

From startups to Fortune 100s, companies are hiring freelancers because they have talent shortages for specific skill sets. Workers with in-demand skills are needed to continue their digitization plans, keep up with changing customer demand, and leverage generative AI.

However, their talent shortage is partially self-inflicted. Many businesses are shrinking teams to stretch budgets and cutting back on headcount to protect profit margins.

Although it may be wise to maintain leaner teams, businesses still need people to do the work that keeps companies competitive. That’s where skilled freelancers come in.

Through freelancers, companies get fast access to critical skill sets on demand. That’s why most companies (66%) plan to hire more freelance talent in the next few years, according to a Future Workforce Report by Upwork.

Freelance use rising

Here are a few reasons why more companies say they’re hiring freelancers.

1. Cost savings

There may be times when you need someone with a specific skill, but you don’t have enough work to justify hiring an employee full time. Instead of hiring someone, then filling their day with work outside of their skill set—or worse, letting them go later—save costs by hiring a freelancer to get work done until demand increases to a full-time need.

If you have a vacant role, you may save money by hiring a freelancer to handle the work until the role is filled. When you calculate the cost of keeping roles unfilled, you may find the financial impact extends beyond the work left undone. Costs may include indirect soft cost losses like lowered productivity, missed opportunities, and reduced customer service quality.

Read: The Costs of Hiring a Freelancer vs. In-house Employee

2. Access to the best, specialized talent

Most hiring managers (85%) work with freelancers because it’s the only way teams can tap into their specialized expertise. This may happen because the business’ location or other factors prevent them from attracting the expert on a full-time basis, or the professional is only available on a freelance basis.

FLS increase skills access

Having fast access to a wide variety of talent enables Samsung Next/Whisk to expand its potential. “Independent talent has allowed us to really rethink the way we approach going after a lot of business opportunities,” said Travis Bogard, former SVP, Head of Product at Samsung Next. “The act of getting started really affects what you go after. The ability to go very fast in terms of pulling a team together and bringing in skilled talent really opens up a broader set of opportunities, You can go explore and try very quickly."

3. High-quality work

Freelancers are known to deliver high-quality work because the work they specialize in is what they enjoy and do every day. Plus, most freelancers work with multiple companies, which widens and deepens their knowledge and experience. That experience may show up in higher-quality work compared to someone who works for a single company.

Freelancers also have an incentive to deliver high-quality work, as they’re self-employed. The better their work quality, the more likely they’ll attract new customers and keep the old ones coming back.

Of course, not every freelancer is a perfect fit for a specific project. Learn how to choose the best talent with tips from the free guide, “Hiring and Working with Independent Talent.”

4. Faster deliverables

Compared to employees, freelancers may complete deliverables faster. These external specialists are accustomed to jumping into a project and getting straight to work. And unlike employees, freelancers can choose to focus on one project at a time. Plus their work time is often more productive as they generally don’t get pulled into endless meetings or interrupted by co-workers.

Freelancers also control their own schedules, so they can work when they’re most productive, which may not be typical work hours.

Another way to get deliverables even sooner is by creating a workflow that follows the sun, as IT support company CompuVision did. Freelancers usually work remotely, so CompuVision tripled their output by choosing people in specific time zones.

5. Larger talent pool

Most freelance talent work online, so you can access talent pools in locations that weren’t available to you previously. Take Upwork, the world’s work marketplace, for example. They give you immediate access to more than 10,000 skills in categories including website and app development, creative and design, customer support, finance and accounting, consulting, and operations.

“Working with on-demand talent gives us agility and a pool of nearly unlimited knowledge, as we always have the correct experts at hand,” said Hasan Kemal, Head of Business Development and Partnership at Riot Games. His team contracts UX/UI designers, business analysts, and copyeditors. “Our employees trust the independent professionals they work with. Now we're more agile and flexible. Our product outcomes are more professional and pristine, and employees are under less pressure.”

“Working with on-demand talent gives us agility and a pool of nearly unlimited knowledge, as we always have the correct experts at hand.”
—Hasan Kemal, Head of Business Development and Partnership, Riot Games

6. Company risk reduction

The average cost of hiring a new employee is around $4,700. If the employee leaves or doesn’t work out, you lose your investment. With freelance talent, you don’t have those high upfront costs. And when someone doesn’t work out, you just find someone else.

You can reduce risk further by hiring talent through work platforms like Upwork instead of hiring someone directly. Upwork, for example, helps you hire and work with talent safely through features and services like data security and identity verification, worker classification services, and only paying for work you approve.

Upwork talent profiles are also designed to give you information that helps you vet talent more accurately. In addition to viewing a freelancer’s portfolio and resume, you can see how they performed on previous projects, read feedback from clients, and see how clients rated them on previous jobs.

Contractor profile

7. No long-term commitment

Freelancers offer the greatest freedom in that you’re not tied to a long-term contract. You can contract talent for a single hour or for months.

What can you do with access to all the skills you want? What will you accomplish when you can hire the best people for your projects, and work with them only when you need them? Here are a few ideas:

8. Ease of finding, hiring, and onboarding

Compared to companies that don’t contract independent talent, those that do are more confident they can always find the talent they need (78% vs. 63%). Their confidence is likely buoyed by success with freelancing platforms.

These platforms are purposefully designed to make quick work of finding, hiring, and onboarding talent, no matter where they’re located. Upwork clients, for example, find qualified talent within three days on average—sometimes, even faster. "Now we’re able to do things in 24 hours or less,” said Moadh Bukhash, Chief Marketing Officer at Emirates NBD. “It’s almost immediate: If I have an idea, and I know what the job requires, then at most, it’ll take me a day to find the right talent to help us.”

FLs key workforce solution

9. Increased diversity

Since freelancers usually work remotely, you can increase diversity by hiring people from talent pools that weren’t available to you in the past. Building diverse teams doesn’t just help you make good on your DEI commitments, but it also exposes employees to new ways of thinking.

When you're tapping into a broader set of talent, you often can tap into different time zones, different geographies, and even different lifestyles,” said Travis Bogard, formerly at Samsung Next. “And that brings in a whole new lens of the way to work, the way to think, and how to approach a problem."

When you're tapping into a broader set of talent, you often can tap into different time zones, different geographies, and even different lifestyles. And that brings in a whole new lens of the way to work, the way to think, and how to approach a problem."
—Travis Bogard, former SVP, Head of Product at Samsung Next

10. Schedule flexibility

Unlike permanent employees, freelancers set their own work hours. Their flexibility enables them to accept last-minute projects and choose to work late into the night and on weekends to meet tight deadlines. If a project goes longer than originally planned, freelancers can also manage their schedules to remain on a project until completion.

11. Short-term deadlines

Short-term deadlines don’t scare freelancers, as many are used to jumping into a project and getting straight to work. And they’ve done similar work with other businesses, so they may not need as much time to do the work as an employee would.

Of course, a freelancer’s speed is only helpful if you can find them quickly. Genpact Studios, an in-house creative agency, often works on such short deadlines that they count on finding freelancers on Upwork. “After we post something, we don’t even have to wait 24 hours for a response — it’s just incredible,” said Sunetra Vijaykar, Assistant Vice President at Genpact.

“After we post something, we don’t even have to wait 24 hours for a response—it’s just incredible.”
—Sunetra Vijaykar, Assistant Vice President at Genpact

12. Fresh perspective

Freelancers can level up a project’s results because they bring fresh perspectives gained from working with other companies. “The external knowledge freelancers bring can also provide learning opportunities for employees,” said Nathan Galteland, Sales Operations and Systems Director at Upwork. “For example, when the team engaged a specialist to process contracts through Salesforce, he completed the job well and offered suggestions for improving and getting more out of areas in their contract process. His insights were so valuable that he became the lead developer on a project to retrofit the contracting system.”

Case study: How the Sales Ops Team at Upwork Expands Their Potential With Hybrid Teams

13. AI skills

Most companies don’t have all the skills in-house to keep up with changing technology. Take AI, for example. A recent study shows companies are hiring more people as a result of generative AI. And nearly half (49%) of hiring managers plan to gain AI skills through freelance talent.

Businesses are contracting experts like AI engineer Abay Bektursun to solve some of their biggest problems. “My clients may know that they can use AI but don't have the technical, research, or mathematical skills to make it happen. That's where I come in,” said Abay.  “I bring all my knowledge from research, from engineering, from all the big and small companies I’ve worked with, and I turn their ideas into reality.”

14. Testing ideas

With freelancers, you can quickly assemble teams to test proof of concept so that full-time employees can remain focused on higher-value projects.

CompuVision, an IT support company, regularly uses freelancers to test ideas. "We can reach into the talent cloud to contract specialists from around the globe to test several ideas at a time,” said Ryan Vestby, the company’s chief growth officer. “When we find something worth building out, we may assemble a hybrid team of employees and talent to create the product. The flexibility to try things quickly before having to really go deep into it has been really valuable.”

“We can reach into the talent cloud to contract specialists from around the globe to test several ideas at a time. The flexibility to try things quickly before having to really go deep into it has been really valuable.”
—Ryan Vestby, Chief Growth Officer, CompuVision

15. Avoiding burnout

Bringing in freelancers to shoulder some of the workload and supply expertise where needed can reduce employee stress, increase their engagement, and improve team morale.

Ken Circeo, Senior Media Production Specialist at Microsoft, uses freelancers to scale video production at a cost savings. But he also sees greater benefits of hiring freelancers. “Using Upwork has helped us attract and retain top talent here on my team at Microsoft.” said Circeo. “We can concentrate on strategizing, knowing that we’re scaling our production using freelancers from around the entire world. We can use our time and scale our work, scale ourselves, and scale our team.”

Common freelancing services used by companies

Companies often turn to freelancers to help solve a variety of challenges. Through Upwork, you can tap into more than 10,000 skills in categories including website and app development, creative and design, customer support, finance and accounting, consulting, and operations. Some of the most common skills include:

Where do companies find freelancers?

Companies can find freelancers through several sources including by word of mouth, through social media, and from their personal and professional networks. The fastest, easiest, and often safest way to find freelancers—and likely the most popular way—is through freelancing platforms.

Platforms range from simple job boards to robust enterprise solutions that enable companies to hire freelancers at scale. Freelancing sites come in all flavors and sizes, so choose which works best for your hiring needs. The examples below should get you started.


LinkedIn is a social networking platform that is mainly used to make professional connections. LinkedIn has more than 900 million users found in 200 countries, making it a popular place for people to look for jobs and full-time employees. Although it’s not a freelancing platform, LinkedIn offers a hiring platform where you can post project-based jobs, search for talent, and manage connections.


Upwork is the world’s largest work platform, where solopreneurs to Fortune 100s go to access more than 10,000 skills from talent located in 180 countries. This market leader provides the flexibility and speed of a freelancing platform with the protection and enterprise services of a traditional agency.


TaskRabbit is where people go when they need an individual to help with one-off tasks around the home. You could hire someone to do things like baby-proof a house, clean rain gutters, pick up groceries, and move heavy items. Workers are available within the U.S. only.


Thumbtack offers professional services for home projects. Unlike Taskrabbit, where you’re hiring an individual, you’re usually hiring a company on Thumbtack. This may be a professional electrician, plumber, or landscaper. Projects must be within the U.S.


Codeable focuses solely on Wordpress developers for one-off and repeat projects plus full-time Wordpress roles. Their reason for being is to provide the highest Wordpress talent and make it easy for you to work with them.


Toptal claims they offer the top 3% of freelance talent globally. They specialize in software developers and designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. First projects are $500 minimum.

Writers Work

Writers Work offers writers for any type of content creation such as blog posts, press releases, and digital ads. Although Writers Work manages their own job posts, most jobs are pulled from other job sites including Indeed and Journalism Jobs.


Contently offers talent for all types of content creation, from writing and video to podcasts. Contently differs from other freelancing platforms in that freelancers can’t submit proposals for projects. Contently talent scouts review writer portfolios and then select the best match for the client.

Freelancing is the future of work

The reasons why companies hire freelancers may differ but before long, most realize the same thing: Freelancers enable businesses to adapt to a changing world. In fact, most hiring managers who hire freelancers (58%) say they plan to do it more over the next few months.

That’s good news since the highly skilled person you need may only be available on a freelance basis. Nearly 4 in 10 people in the U.S. workforce are freelancing, and over half have post-graduate degrees. They’re providing highly skilled services in mathematics, programming, design, and business consulting.

Working with freelancers ”makes business sense because it’s cost-effective, it’s faster, and it’s more agile,” said Vito Labate, VP Global Industry Marketing at Capgemini. “At the same time, I see it as my responsibility as a leader to provide the best experience for the people who belong to my team and give them a chance to tap into their creativity—both by expanding upon the diversity of our team and alleviating tasks that shouldn’t consume my team’s focus and time. It enables us to provide the creative direction that our stakeholders look to us to provide. And you really can’t put a price on the value that has.”

See the wide range of skilled freelance professionals available now at Upwork.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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Author Spotlight

15 Reasons Why Companies Hire Freelancers in 2023
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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