OUTSOURCING has become an important part of the region's small business owners' strategy for the first time.
More than half reckon that regularly outsourcing work to specialist free- lancers now forms an important part of their growth strategy, according to a report.
The aptly-named Freelancer.co.uk Small Business Survey found that 56% of small firms questioned in Tyne and Wear said they preferred having flexibility to outsource rather than hiring full-time workers, because they can bring in specialist workers as and when needed.
It found that 45% planned to outsource more this year, while 21% thought the number would be around the same as in 2011.
Computer programmers and web developers were the most commonly- used freelancers, followed by back office functions such as PAs, legal and accounts work.
More than six out of 10 rated the work performed by freelancers they had used as high or very good.
Freelancer.co.uk chief executive Matt Barrie said: “The survey had found that to remain competitive and grow, small businesses in Tyne and Wear are hiring in experts to undertake the work that they can’t do, from designing smart IT systems to help run their companies more efficiently and dynamic e-commerce sites, to marketing, financial and accounts experts.
“They are getting in expertise that they may not have otherwise been available to them to hire. And when resources are in short supply, they have realised that they only pay for services as they need them.
“But Tyne and Wear’s small business are also outsourcing more because the growth in outsourcing sites gives them confidence and protection.
“With freelancers reviewed for quality of their services and escrow payment systems ensuring security, small businesses are now able to manage a diverse workforce with reliable and easy to use project management systems.”