Why Companies Increasingly Prefer Hiring Employees over Contractors

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 01 Dec 2023

Employees or contractors, which are better? These are the main reasons why companies worldwide prefer hiring employees over contractors. 

In the evolving landscape of global employment, businesses are increasingly grappling with the decision of whether to hire independent contractors or employees

This choice has been influenced by various factors, including the need for staffing flexibility, the impact of the pandemic, and the pursuit of operational efficiency.  

But the line between the two is not always clear-cut, leading to potential compliance challenges

Historically, companies have favored temporary workers for their unique skills and suitability for short-term projects. They offer immediate access to in-demand skills, enhancing a company's efficiency and competitiveness.  

The appeal of hiring freelancers also stems from cost control, especially in uncertain economic times or during phases of company growth. 

However, the distinction between these types of workers is governed by strict labor laws globally. Misclassifying an employee as a contractor can lead to significant legal and financial repercussions, including fines, penalties, and damage to the company's reputation. 

Walking a Compliance Tightrope 

The difference is nuanced and depends on several factors, such as the degree of control a company has over the worker, the nature of the work arrangement, and the structure of compensation.  

In countries like the United States, the UK, Canada, and others, the criteria for determining an employee’s status varies, but the underlying principle remains the same: the need for clarity in the employment relationship.  

This risk has prompted many businesses to reconsider their staffing strategies, shifting towards hiring full-time staff to ensure compliance and avoid potential liabilities. 

Atlas, as an Employer of Record (EOR), helps businesses analyze these factors in the context of local laws, cutting through the confusion and ensuring that the nature of every work relationship is correctly classified. 

An EOR assumes the legal responsibilities of the employer, ensuring compliance with local employment laws and regulations.  

Atlas's expertise in these areas ensures that companies can engage workers in different countries without inadvertently crossing the line into an employer-employee relationship when that is not the intent. 

Let’s take a closer look at the differences and downsides of hiring each type of worker. 

What are the Disadvantages of Hiring Contractors? 

Contractors offer flexibility and specialized skills, but they come with significant drawbacks. The primary issue is the lack of long-term commitment, which can disrupt company culture and operational continuity. This transient workforce model can lead to challenges in maintaining a consistent and cohesive company culture, which is essential for long-term business success. 

Furthermore, they may not be as invested in the company's long-term goals and missions as full-time employees. This lack of alignment can result in a mismatch of objectives and a potential gap in the company's strategic execution.  

And the administrative burden of managing multiple people, who may have different contract terms and work practices, can be substantial, diverting resources from core business activities. 

Moreover, managing contractors across different jurisdictions introduces a complex web of global compliance and classification laws. For businesses operating internationally, this poses a substantial challenge, as they must navigate a patchwork of regulations to ensure compliance and avoid legal pitfalls. 

What are the Disadvantages of Hiring Employees? 

Conversely, hiring employees, while fostering stability and engagement, entails a host of challenges of its own.  

The recruitment process is often lengthier and costlier, considering the costs associated with benefits, training, and long-term employment contracts, never mind the legal and regulatory intricacies of global employment, which demands extensive resources and expertise.  

Non-compliance in this area can lead to severe legal and financial repercussions, making it a critical consideration for businesses expanding globally. 

Employees also require ongoing investment in terms of training and development to keep their skills relevant and aligned with the company's evolving needs. This ongoing investment can be a significant expense, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.  

And on the other end of things, the process of termination can be complex and fraught with legal challenges, particularly in jurisdictions with strong labor protections. 

How Atlas Can Help Navigate Global Workforce Challenges  

Atlas’ EOR services provide a robust framework for employee classification and compliance with local labor laws, enabling businesses to expand their operations confidently. These services underscore a commitment to HR best practices and compliance, crucial for building brand awareness and establishing trust in global markets. 

EOR services like those offered by Atlas play a strategic role in the evolving business landscape. They offer a solution for businesses to hire globally without the need for a legal entity in each country, ensuring compliance with local labor laws and providing flexibility and scalability. 

For companies going global, Atlas offers the expertise to manage these intricacies. By partnering with Atlas, businesses can confidently engage workers around the world, knowing that their employment practices align with local labor laws.  

This includes ensuring that contractors are genuinely independent and not misclassified employees. 

Global Compliance and Employee Classification 

Atlas ensures adherence to local employment laws, tax regulations, and benefits entitlements, crucial in avoiding legal pitfalls associated with misclassification. 

Flexibility and Scalability 

Using an EOR provides the flexibility to scale up or down without the burdens typically associated with global expansion, beneficial for businesses in fluctuating markets. 


Partnering with an EOR like Atlas can be more cost-effective than setting up legal entities in each country, eliminating extensive legal counsel needs and reducing non-compliance fines. 

Enhanced Employee Experience 

Atlas enhances the employment experience by ensuring workers receive appropriate benefits and rights as per local standards, leading to higher satisfaction and retention. 

A Shifting Landscape 

The preference for hiring permanent workers over contractors reflects a global shift in business priorities. Full-time staff offer benefits like stability and a unified company culture, increasingly valued in today's business environment. 

Atlas’s EOR services provide essential support for companies to make effective hiring decisions, ensuring compliance and confidence in their global hiring strategies and ensuring that contractors are genuinely independent and not misclassified.  

Discover how Atlas can streamline your global workforce management. Contact us to learn more about how our Employer of Record services can help keep you compliant, whether you’re hiring full time staff or contractors.