How Fractional Freelancing can help bridge the tech skills gap 

July 3, 2024


According to research, more than two-thirds of companies (70%) report hiring challenges when it comes to roles requiring digital skills (AWS).

With the EU’s focus on digital infrastructure, the skills shortage is becoming more apparent than ever. 

But what if businesses chose a less traditional route to bridging those gaps? 

A Gif of Popeye stopping a leak by tying it a knot. Making a joke about businesses using a less traditional route to bridge their talent gaps... using fractional freelancers!

Enter: Fractional Freelancing

Also known as Part-Time Consulting, Gig Work, Temporary Contracting, Multi-Role Freelancing; Fractional Freelancing isn’t a new concept. Freelancers have been working part-time across multiple companies for years. More and more freelancers are opting for this model, drawn to the variety and flexibility it offers.

According to research, 70% of freelancers are dedicated to two or four projects at any given time. We’re seeing this trend gaining momentum as developers seek diverse experiences, variety and opportunities to expand their skill sets. 

Permanent vs. Freelance vs. Fractional Freelancing 

When addressing skills gaps, companies typically consider hiring permanent team members, or full time freelancers. This approach can be costly and not always the most effective. 

We recently walked a client through this exact

 dilemma. A small scaleup, developing a new app and facing some challenges, specifically in the time being taken to get the MVP developed and launched. As a small team of 5, they had some knowledge gaps, particularly in React Native and UI/UX, that meant progress was slowing up and decision-making was difficult due to lack of experience and believability. 

We walked them through a few scenarios, outlining the pros and cons for each… 

Permanent Hire: 
  • Pros: Long-term commitment, deep integration into company culture. 
  • Cons: High cost, potential underutilisation, and risk of disengagement once specific project needs are met. 

Given their size and budget constraints, they felt hiring a permanent team was out of the question. The risks—high costs and possible underutilisation—were too great. 

Freelance Hire: 
  • Pros: Flexibility, access to specialised skills, lower commitment. 
  • Cons: Can be expensive if engaged full-time, varying availability. 

Our client liked the idea of taking on a freelancer, but their concerns were around fixed contract lengths. After the initial MVP project finished, there wouldn’t be enough work to fulfill many freelancers’ expectations of 4-5 days per week. 

This is where the option of Fractional Freelancers came into play: 

  • Pros: Cost-effective, highly specialised expertise and flexible. 
  • Cons: Requires effective management to coordinate part-time schedules and integrate knowledge. 

Our client decided to opt for a fractional freelance team specialising in React Native and UI/UX. The arrangement was perfect for them: 3 days per week for 3 months, followed by 1 day per week from Month 4. This provided the exact expertise needed without the financial burden of full-time hires. 

Benefits Beyond Just Cost Savings 

Specialised Expertise 

Fractional freelancers bring niche skills that might not be available in-house. Our client benefited from the freelance team’s extensive experience and understanding of React Native and UI/UX design, which helped expedite the development and launch of their MVP. 

A recent Deloitte study found that nearly half (49%) of full-time employees upskilled over a year ago or never have, while 60% of freelancers upskilled within six months. This shows that fractional freelancers are not only flexible but also highly skilled and current with the latest trends.  

Flexible Commitment 

Fractional arrangements mean you get the right expertise for the precise amount of time you need it, avoiding long-term commitments, and only receiving support when it’s needed. 

For our client, this meant having their engineer work 3 days per week during the critical initial phase of the migration and then transition to 1 day per week for ongoing support—effectively balancing expertise and budget. 

Innovative Perspectives 

Fractional Freelancers often work with various clients across different industries, bringing innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. In one of our client’s cases, they were dealing with a time-consuming manual data entry process: our fractional freelance systems engineer, experienced in process optimisation, introduced automated solutions learned from another project. This resulted in over 20 hours saved per week, allowing the team to focus on strategic tasks. 

Is fractional freelancing the future? 

We’d certainly say that it’s up-trending right now, with high demand from our freelance candidate community. 

While some clients are apprehensive, those who have embraced fractional freelancing have seen great success, especially in digital transformation projects, AI/ML implementations, and large migrations. 

Meme of oprah winfrey saying 'you do digital transformation' over and over. Linked to the part of the blog that talks about companies using fractional freelancers to help their digital transformations.

With the EU’s Digital Decade Policy aiming for 75% of EU companies to use Cloud, AI, or Big Data, we anticipate an increase in the use of fractional freelancers. 

To conclude 

As well as being cost effective, fractional freelancers bring fresh perspectives and skills, keeping your company competitive and agile. As the demand for flexible talent grows, embracing fractional freelancing can trim costs, save time, and enhance your product or service. It’s a smart move for any forward-thinking business. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about how a fractional freelancer can help your team, get in touch. 

contact our team.