The research, based in part on interviews with employers into their use of freelance PROs, found that both PR agencies and corporations believed that temporary staff were more expensive.
However, the research found that this is not the case with corporations, as in three out of every four cases, freelance labour is cheaper than permanent staff.
Research compilers Margarita Koshman and Kendra Thayer said this is mainly due to high additional costs that are not taken into account by HR managers, such as pensions, sick leave and bonuses.
For some PR agencies, freelancers cost a third less than permanent employees, for others a freelancer is twice as expensive, although the study suggests this is down to agencies under-investing in permanent staff rather than freelancers being overpaid.
The research was commissioned by freelance agency xchangeteam.