How Startups Can Effectively use Fractional Hiring

February 18, 2021 Career, Startups

It’s not an easy thing for companies to hire the right employees. Hiring new employees can be a challenging and very long process. For startups, it’s even harder. It can be extra challenging since they are new to the hiring process. If you want your company to do well, it is crucial to recruit the right people to lay your business’s foundation. 

Today, many companies build entire departments that focus purely on recruitment. Their entire job is to find future employees for their company. Sometimes, startups and smaller companies cannot afford to have large HR departments that focus on recruitment and hiring. They need to find alternative hiring solutions. There is a way for startups (and even more successful companies) to attract new talent and grow their company. It’s called fractional recruiting. 

What Is Fractional Recruiting?

Fractional recruiting or fractional employment is a way for an individual (an employee) to divide their time between different organizations. In other words, an employee could work in multiple organizations throughout the week or even throughout the day. But usually, a fractional employee would work at a particular place for the entire day, numerous times a week. 

What is the difference between fractional employment and freelance or a part-time job? 

Even though it does seem similar, there are a few key differences. The most significant one is that fractional employment isn’t project-based. The work time is usually more hours than working part-time. For instance, a person could be working for company A two days a week, for company B two days a week, et cetera. 

Why would someone choose to work like this? Well, first and foremost, it is more flexible (time-wise) – you’re not tied to one work-space all the time. It helps a person to have more control over their weekly schedule. Also, it brings a lot of variety, meaning it would be more thrilling and motivating for an employee. It is also beneficial because of all the experience that a worker is getting exactly by operating in multiple companies.

So why should new startups use fractional recruiting? Choosing how to hire new workers can be of critical importance to a startup. Hiring fractional employees would be an ideal solution for them. Even though these fractional workers have fewer hours than full-time employees, they can bring the same skill set.

By hiring fractional workers (especially with extensive experience), a startup would get full brain-power without investing extensive costs such as for a full-time employee. It also helps a startup hire more experienced people since it could be possible that they can’t afford to hire a full-time worker immediately. 

What Is a Fractional Data Scientist and Why Does Your Startup Need One?

As its name says, a fractional data scientist is a person who is working in data science as a fractional worker. As we’ve stated, it’s an employee operating a few days a week (or so) at one company.

It would probably be even more straightforward for startups to start with fractional data scientists because of the nature of fractional work. For instance, when you have a startup, you can’t spend as much money as more prominent corporations can – which means your resources will probably be more limited. By hiring a fractional data scientist, you could potentially save more than you were willing to spend. 

Having a startup can be stressful, especially in the IT world. Therefore, hiring fractional data scientists can ease the internal organization of the infrastructure.  Also, people tend to be more productive when they’re not in the same setting all the time – and productivity is considered pretty important in data science. 

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Fractional Data Scientists

Everything has its pros and cons. Even though fractional hiring does look promising, we should remember that nothing is perfect – we should look at it from every aspect. We will list here some of the pros and cons of hiring fractional data scientists. 


  • The first benefit of hiring a fractional data scientist is cost. Data scientists can be expensive, especially if you hire one with experience for a full-time position. If you hire a fractional data scientist, you don’t have to pay them as if they’re working full-time, meaning your startup will save money. 
  • If you have a fractional data scientist, chances are, they are probably working in other companies at the same time too. By working in different companies, they acquire more experience and knowledge, meaning they could bring a more robust set of skills to your startup and be better prepared for future projects.
  • Data scientists working in different companies will probably establish connections over time with other IT workers. It can bring an opportunity for them to hear about your startup. 


  • A fractional data scientist working at your startup won’t be available all the time. Time will limit them, and they probably won’t be at your company every day. You will have to fill the time when they’re not around with other employees. 
  • If an employee is working in multiple companies (or startups) during the week, they might not focus 100% on the work doing at your startup. In most cases, it means that your startup will not be their number one priority. 

The Difference Between a Fractional and a Full-Time Data Scientist

The main difference between a fractional and a full-time data scientist is scheduling. A full-time data scientist is probably doing a regular 8-hour shift a day in the same office working on the same project. While a fractional data scientist is most likely working on different projects in different companies. All things considered, a fractional data scientist’s schedule is more flexible and less repetitive. 

Another difference between a full-time and a fractional data scientist is their salary. A person working full-time will probably have higher earnings within a company, while a fractional worker may have smaller earnings since they’re spending fewer hours a week working there. However, fractional data scientists tend to earn more at the end of the month as they diversify their income sources and are inclined to work more hours than regular full-time employees. 

With that being said, a fractional data scientist and a full-time data scientist have different working contracts and projects they are working on. An individual working at a company full-time will probably work on a project that requires more time and commitment. 


Fractional hiring is becoming more and more popular, especially amongst startups and newer companies. They have realized how effective this kind of hiring can be and how it can help their business grow and become more successful. 

It may seem a bit intimidating at first for startups, just because it’s not the traditional way of working. But fractional hiring can be useful. The flexibility that fractional work offers can bring new opportunities, and it also motivates the employees. 

In the end, fractional work does bring balance, not only with salary but with work and life in general. Of course, not everyone is the same, and everyone has different preferences regarding how they like to work. However, it does seem like fractional hiring will stick around in the future – especially in the area of data science. The indicated can be considered a good thing since it’s more important to work smarter than harder.