Study: Companies are assigning more and more IT projects to freelancers

More and more companies are relying on external support for their IT projects. Now only half of IT specialists employed in projects are permanently employed in companies as a result. This is one of the central findings of the recent IT freelancer study that IDG Research Services carried out in cooperation with the personnel and project service provider Allgeier Experts.

Study: Companies are assigning more and more IT projects to freelancers

Source: IT freelancer study by IDG Research Services, Munich 2018

Companies surveyed see a need for action above all in the implementation of major strategic projects in the areas of IT security, cloud computing, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things and business intelligence. Besides temporary employment, this benefits the market for freelancers in particular. This is also reflected in the level of fees, which continues to rise.

Project prospects for freelancers in the IT environment remain good. Four out of five companies (78.5 percent of respondents) worked with IT freelancers last year, an increase of nine percentage points over 2016, with particularly high demand for expertise in (agile) software development and programming, consulting, data science and quality management. The high demand also has a positive effect on hourly rates: last year, the average hourly rate of freelancers surveyed was EUR 88.41. A further increase of about six percent is expected this year. IT experts with 11 to 15 years of professional experience have the highest hourly rate.

Mixed teams as success model

Due to the large number and complexity of upcoming IT projects, hardly any company can do without external support. It is therefore not surprising that more than 90 percent of those surveyed now rely on mixed teams of internal and external employees – and with success: 77.3 percent of company representatives are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with mixed project teams. Especially in IT security (54 percent of responses), cloud computing (37.8 percent) and digitalisation (36 percent), user companies expect the greatest demand for external support in the next two years.

“The trend towards setting up mixed teams will continue,” predicts Bernd Sauer, who as CEO of Goetzfried AG is responsible for the Contracting (freelancer) division of Allgeier Experts. “Successful digitalisation is increasingly depending on companies flexibly aligning projects according to scope and duration and quickly assembling the teams they need according to requirements. One of the largest current obstacles is the limited availability of suitable freelancers in the IT labour market.”

Companies and freelancers rely on intermediaries

When searching for suitable candidates, companies prefer to rely not only on direct hiring (39.4 percent), but also on personnel service providers (19.6 percent), followed by traditional IT consulting companies (18.1 percent) and online portals (13.4 percent). For the majority of clients, interpersonal values such as “good cooperation on a previous project” and a “good connection to the customer contact” are the most important criteria when selecting a suitable personnel service provider. In contrast to previous years, the price-performance ratio takes only fourth place in the priority list.

Besides contacts to well-known companies (78.8 percent) along with personal network (76.3 percent), project brokers and personnel service providers (a total of 72.4 percent) also play a large role for freelancers when it comes to obtaining follow-up orders. When working with an intermediary, what counts most for the self-employed is reliable payment and smooth processing as well as orders in interesting employment companies.

All results at a glance

The results of the study were determined by IDG Business Research Services through an online survey in which a total of 567 qualified interviews were conducted and analysed. Among those surveyed were 236 IT freelancers and 331 companies using IT freelancers. We would be happy to make the entire study volume available to you on request. If you are interested, simply send us an email at joscha.seelmann@allgeier-experts.com

Select graphics can be downloaded here (please refer to the following source: “IT freelancer study by IDG Research Services, Munich 2018”):



The displayed job is offered by our subsidiary. More information and application on the website of company.

Thank you for your comment

Before your comment gets published, it will be checked with regards to our netiquette. Thank you for your patience!

Our rules