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External workforce and freelancing in HR

Freelancing in HR? Where is the market heading?

External workforce and freelancing in HR

Does freelancing go hand in hand with more flexibility and autonomy? Or does the pressure to sell and financial uncertainty dominate? It is a fact that more and more people want to avoid permanent positions in order to work for several employers at the same time – in HR too.

von Alexandra Gastpar / PersonalSchweiz

Self-employed, part-time and temporary or external staff are becoming increasingly important in our society. According to a study by Deloitte, a quarter of the Swiss population work full-time or part-time as freelancers. Many freelancers value the flexibility and autonomy: more than half of the respondents said they were able to balance family life with work more easily, despite working more hours each week than they did previously. Others take the opportunity to work part-time as freelancers. So-called “downshifting”, a reduction in working hours in favour of a more autonomous, fulfilling life is now the trend: Three out of five working women and around 14 % of men work part-time. This trend is particularly evident among Generation Z, who in contrast to the previous generation, Generation Y, are increasingly seeking self-fulfilment and self-development in their free time and social interaction.

A growing HR freelancer market

The trend towards freelancing is also being seen in HR. In addition to a large number of people looking to enter a new sector, there are also many coaches and career advisors who specialise in HR and are going self-employed. The fields range from HR administration and recruitment to interim management and payroll. This trend towards self-employment leads to more freedom and flexibility, which, according to the ‘Freelance-Kompass’, more than 50% of respondents see as an advantage. But this also carries risks, for example in case of illness or accident, and presents challenges in administration and sales. More than 65% said it was difficult to find people to work on projects.

Freelancers are faced with companies that for their part have to also weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing their HR tasks: on the one hand, they rely on know-how and can benefit from the flexibility of freelancers, for example in cases of internal absences, transfer of personnel or for certain project phases and peaks in workload. On the other hand, specific contracts have to be drawn up with external contractors and conditions negotiated. Unforeseen absences can also lead to delays or having to restart the recruitment process.

Mutual support in the HR community

Regardless of whether companies decide to work with freelancers or not: the freelancer market has already formed and companies are unlikely to be able to tackle this development in future. For this reason, HR Campus on the one hand brings together a HR community, in which HR specialists can join forces and support each other. On the other hand, the company acts as a partner that not only provides HR outsourcing solutions, but also temporarily provides HR experts with full- or part-time support. This pool of HR professionals consists of permanent employees, self-employed people and retired people, who want to work and share their knowledge, and experts who are currently in an intermediate phase of their life or want to immerse themselves in a new subject area.

The number of freelancers is estimated to increase by 50 % in the near future. With good external workforce management, companies can respond to this trend, meet the needs of employees and even take advantage of this new way of working. Entirely in the spirit of “happy employee, happy company”.


An external workforceconsists of people who work at a company for a limited period of time: on the one hand, external employees who are employed by a recruitment agency or within their own company and work under the authority of the client. On the other hand, they can be employees of a service provider or freelancers with a service agreement who work remotely or on site with the client and are personally relevant to the client. This means that they need, for example, an access badge, a time tracking tool and/or access to computer systems.

Temporary employees are people that are employed by a company for a limited period, for example through personnel providers, or directly employed by the client on a temporary contract. They have a contract of employment, receive a wage and the company also pays their social insurance contributions.

Freelancers are individuals who are registered as self-employed and therefore work under their own name, work for themselves, independently and at their own risk.

“I appreciate the different challenges that different customers present. Every company is different in their processes, people and culture – that’s exciting.”

Eliane Hofer, HR & Payroll Specialist

“The insight into various types of organisation and communication is a welcome change of scenery.”

Stanisa Ivanovic, Payroll, Compensation & Benefits Specialist

“My work is appreciated and my end products are used productively. This results in a very nice customer relationship which is also important to me on a personal level. The trust shown in me and the understanding of my flexibility is a very nice thing.”

Valentin Grötsch, SAP Technician


¹ Deloitte: Der Arbeitsplatz der Zukunft: Wie digitale Technologie und Sharing Economy die Schweizer Arbeitswelt verändert

² Technologiedienstleisters Solcom: "Freiberufler: Arbeit und Leben im Einklang?"

³ Persorama HR swiss: Teilzeit arbeiten wird immer beliebter

⁴ David Stillman und Jonah Stillman: GenZ@Work: How the next generation is transforming the workplace

⁵ Freelancermap: Freelancer Kompass 2018

Published: 20. May 2019

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