Research Library


You are here

Professor Andrew Burke and Dr Samuel Vigne
February, 2018
Download Full Report
Download Executive Summary

The Economic Role of Freelance Workers in the Construction Industry has been produced by the CRSE and Hudson Contract.

By analysing firms in the construction industry in 2010, 2013 and 2017, the report found that freelancers’ work and flexibility add value to businesses that could not be gained from employee labour.

Its key aim is to explore this vital part of the industry, using extensive empirical analysis including site visits, case studies and statistical analysis, and combining it with insights from both industrial and labour economics.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Freelancers in the construction industry enable businesses to use highly specialised labour and sub-contractors, thus driving huge cost-saving and productivity gains.
  • They further allow businesses to de-risk construction ventures, manage fluctuations in demand and decrease the finance and managerial resources required for their projects.
  • Freelancers promote a more competitive, high-performance construction industry by allowing Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to compete with large companies, eliminating the need for a large internal employee workforce.
  • The analysis debunks the myth that freelancers are the most vulnerable, lowest-paid workers in the industry. In fact, it shows that employees are the lowest paid among both full and part-time workers.

The report concludes that freelancers play a pivotal role in promoting economic performance in the construction industry and enable entrepreneurship.

Therefore, their unique economic contribution should be recognised by policymakers and business leaders alike.