Use freelancers to drive innovation not plug skills gaps

The use of freelancers can spur innovation in businesses and their growth, as long as employers do not use them simply to fill talent gaps, the dean of Trinity Business School has told a London audience.

Wed, 19 Oct 2016

The use of freelancers can spur innovation in businesses and their growth, as long as employers do not use them simply to fill talent gaps, the dean of Trinity Business School has told a London audience.

Andrew Burke, who is also the chair of business studies at Trinity, told recruiters at the APSCo Awards luncheon on Wednesday that bringing in freelancers to work on specific projects has driven innovation and benefitted businesses such as retailer Argos and semiconductor and software design company ARM.

Andrew Burke

Freelancers are “important to companies’ agility”, he said. In some instances where the projects built by freelancers have gone on to achieve significant business success, such as at Argos Direct, their roles have been turned into staff positions. Such occurrences demonstrate the role that freelancers play in actually creating jobs, “playing a role before employment is created”, Burke pointed out.

The role of the freelancer today in driving innovation is “under the radar”, Burke suggested. 

Burke is also chairman of the Centre for Research on Self-Employment.

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