freelancers in the labor market

Unknown is unloved?

reading time: 5min | # principals #trends | September 20, 2021 | Thibault

For some time now, we at GiGHOUSE have been immersing ourselves in the freelance market. In early 2018, we conducted a major market survey that gave us a clear picture of the freelance market. Our Business Development managers make it their job to put freelancers to work as much as possible in Flemish SMEs. Very often, however, we have to note that the labor market finds the concept of "freelancer" difficult. Entrepreneurs do not know what these self-employed people can do for them or they do not understand the "system" under which freelancers operate. We think this is a shame, because it is precisely these freelancers who will ensure that companies in Europe in the next decade be able to further develop.

The solution to the war for talent

SMEs, time for a wake-up call: freelancers are coming and you can't ignore them anymore! That may sound disruptive and terrifying but we want to emphasize that it is absolutely not. Freelancers not only mean a great opportunity, they are also the weapon to protect the War for Talent win.

We can say that because the scarcity in the labor market is not improving in 2019. According to the VDAB, the tension ratio between the number of non-working job seekers per open vacancy is at an all-time low. This scarcity in the labor market creates fierce competition at the battle for talent. Believe us, the search for experts to put on your own payroll is getting harder and also more expensive. It's just where freelancers can provide solace.

We note that only one absolute minority of SMEs today are in the process of finding structural solutions to their war for talent, and this is striking. Those who sometimes work with freelancers see this primarily as a ad hoc story, for example, to replace someone temporarily or if there is no longer a budget to hire someone permanently on payroll.

We hypothesize that employers have a too narrow concept about freelancers. A freelancer goes beyond a freelance journalist or a freelance designer. Increasingly, it is the high profiles who are making the move into self-employment such as freelance IT or freelance HR. These consultants have years of experience and know both the market and their expertise like no other.


So why don't SMEs take the plunge into freelancing? We wrote a blog post about it recently: a lot of persistent "myths" or prejudices relative to freelancers.

  • They are too expensive
  • They will run away with my trade secrets
  • They will not "really" be part of my team

Okay, a freelancer can walk away with your trade secrets. But a permanent employee can't? Typically, by the way, freelance agreements come with a confidentiality clause and you are contractually stronger as a client. Also, the cost of a freelancer is often not much higher than that of a permanent employee. Freelancers work with a predetermined daily or hourly fee and also invariably keep track of their performance. What you pay is what you get. Or was it the other way around? Finally, we have noticed that the implementation of freelancers in a team varies greatly depending on whether or not an elaborate welcoming policy is in place.

Read more about the prejudices about freelancers ->


You can't ignore freelancers anymore. They are there. They are becoming more numerous. And the political world knows that, too.

Within political circles, there is much debate about freelancer statutes. The status and social protection of all workers is high on the political agenda of the European Union, including that of the self-employed. Since 2013, Eurofound has been analyzing the characteristics of new forms of work in EU member states in order to assess existing knowledge gaps fill. This analysis also surveys the implications for working conditions and the labor market. Eurofound formulates recommendations for policymakers in a report. For example, in the interest of a dynamic economy, the innovative capacity of the market and the creation of new jobs entrepreneurship are encouraged.

The barrier to starting as an entrepreneur must be removed, and existing businesses supported to grow. A social safety net is also needed to reduce the risks associated with entrepreneurship. Specifically, access to benefits in the event of unemployment, work accidents and illness is named as a major step forward.

The Flemish employers' association VOKA advocates for a full new statute for freelancers. Voka calls for a thorough discussion about the future of the labor market. The employers' organization already refers to examples in the Netherlands, where the government wants to work out a statute for self-employed people without personnel (zzp'ers) and the United Kingdom (with the 'worker' statute). '




Above all, let us also end on a positive note: fortunately, there are already many SMEs that are do trust have in freelancers and who already work with these experts in a very structured way. 4 out of 10 Flemish entrepreneurs see in their business a clear trend to corporatization. This is according to a survey of 400 entrepreneurs by the employers' organization Voka.

But according to Voka, these new flexible forms of employment lack a clear framework. 'In our country, there are no good regulations for flexible and atypical work', says Voka chief executive Hans Maertens. 'The division between employee and self-employed is becoming thinner and new forms of employment, such as platform labor and flexi-jobs, are on the rise. The labor market must adapt to this.'

So there is a lot of work to do. Thanks to the fall of the government, negotiations to create a new statute are being put on the back burner.We propose to join hands and work out a sustainable solution that will ensure a bright future for all parties (employers and freelancers).

Working with a freelancer yourself?

Looking for a flexible solution for your business? GiGHOUSE screens freelancers thoroughly and quickly matches the right freelancer to the right assignment. Hereby we take into account the right skills and a cultural fit with your company. Interested in a smooth cooperation with freelancers? GiGHOUSE puts you on the fast track.

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