The Future of Freelancing in the UK

Learn more about the freelancing stats

The concept of ‘office work’ has been facing a great transformation over the past decades as technological developments enable us to choose where, when and with whom to work with. It is now safe to say that traditional working place and hours are something that we start leaving behind. This is a process that is already embraced in many developed and developing countries, and the UK is one of them.

The UK has one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Due to its flexibility and openness, not only many new businesses find a chance to flourish but it also make it possible for employers and employees to set up their own workplace flexibility. As a result of this, an increased number of people are choosing to work part time or remotely.

Aside from this flexibility, the latest economical situation has also played an important role in the development of remote and self- employment. Since the past years have witnessed a great improvement in the British economy, the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest since 2008, more jobs have been created and the job security has improved. No surprisingly, self- employment, freelancing in particular, has started to gain enormous popularity among the Brits.

Generally, self- employment has seen a great boom in the UK. Even within as little as five years, self-employment has increased from 3.9 million (2010, August) to 4.5 million (2015, August). Likewise, freelancing alone has gained momentum. According to the latest research, the number of people who work as freelancers has increased by 12 per cent since 2008. The number has reached to 1.88 million in the UK, which shows the gradual increased over the years.

As the graph shows, women constitute a significant proportion of freelancers, and their involvement is increasing. 40 per cent of the total number of freelancers are now women. Furthermore, IT& Programming appears to be the most popular profession among freelancers.

UK Freelancer

According to Ben Matthews, a freelancing guru, there are several reasons why the numbers are increasing:

“Freelancing is an attractive way of working for many people, especially in recent times as shown by the rise in the number of freelancers in the UK and beyond. This is due to many reasons: technology advancements making it possible to work remotely, companies getting more comfortable hiring and working with freelancers, the proliferation of online freelance project portals (for example, UpWork) and how many people see freelancing as a way to pursue the many different passions that they have. Ultimately as a freelancer you have the freedom to work when and where you want, which means you are in control of your work. That's an attractive option for many.”

It seems that both British companies and Brits have realized that freelancing is a good way to invest time, money and effort, as the companies can hire people to do short term ad hoc projects, and the freelancers can earn money while managing their own work time and place.

It is quite likely that the numbers will continue to increase in the following years, as many more businesses will discover the potential. This creates a great opportunity for many, who would like to consider working as a freelancer.

References: Office For National Statistics & The Association of Independent Professionals and Self Employed