The demand for top-level freelance consultants and flexible professionals is set to soar during the next five years, according to temporary labour specialist MBA & Co.

MBA & Co has predicted that the market for premium freelancers will grow dramatically by the end of the decade, with the number of high-level workers likely to surpass more than one million by this time.

It believes firms are now opting for more flexible practices when taking on professional assignments and are valuing the ability to bring in highly sought-after skills for a particular projects on a “very flexible, very transparent basis”.

MBA & Co CEO Daniel Callaghan said: “Occasionally that leads to a permanent engagement for the individual, so both parties are able to ‘try before they buy’. But, more often than not, the company just has the expertise brought in to support its needs, and then both parties are happy to move on.”

Mr Callaghan also noted that companies are using flexible talent to cut company costs and that modern organisations now need to adjust to the on-demand economy by hiring talented self-employed workers, freelancers and contractors when they are needed rather than paying higher salaries to permanent employees.

“We are already seeing forward-thinking businesses update their hiring and talent management strategies for what will be an inevitable shortage of full-time senior directors and managers in the next five years,” he explained, adding that the impending shortages were a “huge warning sign” that more traditional, set hours of employment were no longer as viable.

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