Empowering the Freelance Economy

Contract-for-hire: millions of freelancers now open to full-time work

Could contract for hire hurt the freelance revolution? Photo by Alexander Suhorucov via Pexels
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If contract-for-hire is in demand, what does that mean for the freelance economy? And what are the prods and cons?

Upwork the freelancer jobs platform is expanding into full-time hiring recruitment through contract-for-hire roles. A first for the business, the company is calling the move a way for businesses of all sizes to “find, vet, hire, onboard and pay highly skilled professionals for full-time work arrangements, without the complexity commonly associated with global hiring.”

What is contract-for-hire?

Contract-for-hire is a hiring practice that lets contractors or freelancers test the waters before agreeing to become a permanent hire. The same is true for the hiring company. After the temporary contract is finished, both parties discuss whether a permanent on-payroll job is an option.

Contract-to-hire jobs can last between three months to a year, according to Wikijobs, but some could last years if it is a long project.

Jobs that are offered as a contract-to-hire role include:

  • IT consultant
  • Sales executive
  • Business development manager
  • Project manager
  • Designer
  • Health or social care professional (temp-to-perm locum work)
  • Business administration assistant

Sales executives are often offered contract-for-hire work, but more industry specialists might opt for them, too.

Pros of contract-for-hire

  • Fast-track your experience
  • Determine if a role is right for you
  • Increase your employability
  • Broaden your professional contacts
  • Access to new skills you can transfer to new projects
  • Form lasting relationships with colleagues
  • Company benefits (i.e. pension contributions, private healthcare, etc.)

Cons of contract-for hire

  • Lack of full-time equivalent benefits
  • Not feeling part of a team; “outsider syndrome”
  • Risks and costs associated with joining the unregulated umbrella company industry
  • Less job security
  • No severance packages

Source: Wikijob, The Freelance Informer


“Businesses pay a price when they make a bad full-time hire, and professionals are often asked to commit to working full-time for a company they aren’t already comfortable with – real risks on both sides magnified by current economic uncertainty,” said Upwork.

The recruitment platform said that there is a “vast global pool of more than 2 million” highly skilled professionals on Upwork who have already indicated openness to full-time work, all within a centralised platform.

“Today, hiring full-time talent around the globe is an expensive proposition and a leap of faith for everyone involved,” said Dave Bottoms, General Manager of Marketplace, Upwork.

“With this expansion into a full-time hiring solution for all our customers, we have mobilized Upwork’s longstanding expertise, experience and technology to further help businesses and skilled professionals build trusted, long-term working relationships. We aim to provide customers the flexibility to choose the work arrangements that best fit their needs, and empower people on both sides of our work marketplace to thrive in today’s ever-changing world of work.”

Highlights of Upwork’s new end-to-end solution for full-time hiring include:

  • A mutually beneficial way for all clients and talent to trial a contract-to-hire working relationship before they commit to a long-term, full-time engagement. In fact, since the beginning of 2023, clients testing this feature have posted over 40,000 contract-to-hire jobs on the Upwork marketplace.
  • Expanded availability of Upwork’s world-class payroll, compliance and contract management tools – formerly reserved for Enterprise Suite clients – to help small and mid-size businesses classify and pay talent, whether found on Upwork or sourced through their own network.
  • Enhanced Enterprise Suite capabilities for large businesses to classify, hire and pay full-time talent at scale, powered by customized onboarding workflows, systems integrations, and advanced reporting that accelerate talent innovation.

Survey data gathered for Upwork’s 2022 Future Workforce Report shows that 93 per cent of hiring managers often or occasionally convert freelancers into full-time employees. The top reasons hiring managers convert freelancers to full-time include the quality of the freelancer’s work (71 per cent) and, notably, the ability to try working with professionals before hiring them as full-time employees (41 percent). 

Case Study

“At RSMC, our mission is to provide the highest quality fertility care services, but we can’t accomplish our mission without highly skilled talent. Whether they’re freelancers or full-time employees, they factor into the work we do and the services we deliver as part of the patient experience,” said Julianna Nikolic, Chief Strategy Officer, Reproductive Sciences Management Company.

“As our business needs change and grow, having experience working with a freelancer allows us to move them into full-time roles with confidence, because we’ve already seen their best work and we know there’s synergy in the working relationship. Because we’re first able to work with them under a freelancing contract, we can identify skill sets they have and match those with full-time opportunities within our company.

“Upwork has allowed us to convert many people into full-time roles that are really integral to our business.”

To learn more about full-time hiring on Upwork, read the blog post.

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