A report released this week has shown that the confidence freelance contractors have in their business prospects and the economy in general, has been restored and increased, compared with recent quarters.
The survey of around 1,000 freelance contractors by IPSE and Elance-oDesk found a net positive view of business prospects, as well as increasing confidence in the economy. Higher day rates and volumes of work were cited as possible reasons for the positive sentiment.
Key results reported from the survey were:
- Freelancers continue to outperform the earnings of employees, with average quarterly earnings having reached £30,000, equivalent to roughly 20% more than their employed counterparts earn in a year.
- Day rates have increased by 1% since the last quarter, rising from £525 in quarter 4 of 2014 to £531 in Q1 of 2015. The majority of freelance contractors (56%) expect day rates to remain static, with 27% expecting an increase and 17% fearing a fall.
- Capacity utilisation appears to be at ‘record levels’, with 87% of freelancers in contract at the time of survey.
- More freelance contractors are reporting an increase in the volume of work undertaken over the last 3 months (38%) than those reporting a fall (20%). This is the highest percentage reporting a rise in activity to date.
- Business confidence for the coming three months has increased from 3.95 to 9.42 and the twelve-month outlook index rose from 0.6 to 7.19.
- The three-month confidence index for the UK economy as a whole rose from 5.7 to 16.48 from the last quarter, its second highest level over the last year, and the twelve-month outlook rose from 4.75 to 18.05.
Suneeta Johal, Head of Research, Education and Training at IPSE, said:
“This optimism is accompanied by an increase in both net earnings and day rates. Over the last twelve months, day rates have risen 5.6%, which along with an increase in the number of days worked, has contributed greatly to freelancer earnings outperforming that of employees and the increasing business confidence seen in the report.”
Hayley Conick, UK Country Manager for Elance-oDesk commented:
“Business confidence is clearly on the up. Over 60% of freelancers who have worked for their clients via Elance-oDesk expect their revenues to increase in the next 12 months. With a third of freelancers experiencing a growth in work volume over the last three months, the general outlook is very positive indeed.”