'Hidden workforce' key to growth of 5m small businesses in the UK

A hidden workforce of stay at home mums and dads could hold the key to small business growth and provide a huge boost the UK economy.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd November 2016, 7:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:41 am
'Hidden workforce' key to growth of 5m small businesses in the UK
'Hidden workforce' key to growth of 5m small businesses in the UK

There are 5.4 million small businesses in the UK, representing 99% of all private sector businesses and contributing a staggering £1.8 trillion to our economy.

The number one frustration for most start-ups, entrepreneurs and small companies is not having the time or money to turn all their ideas into action. Hiring the expert staff members to help them grow, expand or diversify is time consuming and expensive, especially in the early stages of a venture.

But what if we could change that and give small businesses a way to grow in small, manageable, affordable steps?

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The Hidden Workforce

According to IPSE there were 287,000 stay at home mums freelancing in the UK in 2015. Add the stay at home dads and there is a small army of professionals able to help. They are offering a whole range of services from marketing to accountancy without the need or desire for a full-time employment contract and salary.

Armed with an abundance of talent, skills and enthusiasm, they are held back simply because the traditional nine-to-five is not suitable while they have small children.

And it’s not just those with childcare commitments. There are retirees, experts freelancing around a day job, and talented people with disabilities who may find a conventional office job a challenge but still have masses to contribute.

Opportunity for small business

Jonny Dunning, CEO of weliketowork.com, believes this talented hidden workforce could be a massive opportunity for small businesses who are willing to adapt and offer flexible, remote contracts.

"It’s likely a stay at home mum doing marketing around her children will be working in the evenings or at weekends. A father who works from home designing websites will be delivering his finished product by file sharing rather than presenting to you in the office.

By thinking creatively about who your employees are, and where and when they work, businesses can gain immediate access to this pool of professionals from across the whole of the UK. "

More skill for less money

Because workers are hired on-demand for very specific projects, budgets can go much further.

Dunning says, "Most business owners know a website is essential to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. But a skilled, full time web designer is likely to cost around £40,000 per year.

However, by investing in lots of small specific projects – someone to build the website, someone to promote website, someone to answer all the queries you start to get from the website – you can save a lot of money.

Recruitment fees, national insurance contributions and equipment costs are all wiped off the budget immediately. Instead of £40,000 for a full time worker the cost can come down significantly. Plus, you would get an expert in their field for each specific component."

In a changing digital landscape expert staff are now just a click away. Ambitious freelancers are a perfect match for ambitious small businesses.

To find out more about the hidden workforce and hiring an on-demand professional contact freelance.jobstoday.co.uk