In January 2014 there were estimated to be nearly 4.4m freelance contractors in the UK, helping to innovate, fill a gap for cutting-edge and essential skills in growing industries and to drive the economy. This equates to a growth rate of around 18% since 2008.
Internet telephone company, Vonage, has recently done some research into the characteristics of self-employed workers in the UK. Some highlights from the research help answer the question: Why contracting?
- 11% of the 25-49 year old workforce is self-employed, rising to 17% at 50 and above
- 38% of freelancers are women and roughly a third of these are working mothers
- The average hourly rate for male freelancers is just over £34 and just below £33 for women
- Freelance workers tend to be more creative and innovative and better at communication and negotiation than their employed counterparts
- Freelancers earn, on average, nearly £51,000 a year, nearly double the national average pay of £26,000
- Averages by sector are: banking £70k, engineering £64k, IT £63k, PR and marketing £57k, design £50k and retail £35k
- 41% if new IT hires in the UK were freelance, with 24% for design/multimedia and 18% for writing/translation
- The number of freelance jobs online increased by 46% in 2012
- Self-employed contractors contribute £202 billion to the UK economy each year
- As well as higher pay… the key reasons people choose freelance careers are around lifestyle choices – improved work/life balance, more time for family or recreation, being your own boss, flexibility of location and hours and less commuting