The growth of the freelance workforce

More than 2 million people in the U.K. now work ‘freelance’. That’s a 36% increase since 2008, and it’s likely to grow even more in the years ahead.

No longer is freelancing the preserve of the creative industries. Accountants, Architects, and many other professions are just as likely to be a freelancer now as the designer. Indeed professional and technical occupations now make up more than 40% of the freelance workforce in the U.K.

For many organisations this flexible workforce has allowed them to adapt to the marketplace – growing and contracting as demand ebbs and flows.

However for the freelancer it often means more insecurity, and a worry over where the next contract is going to come from. The rates that freelancers are paid have dropped since the high of 2008, so for many that means they are no better off after going freelance. A double whammy then.

Many freelancers report that they are ‘under-employed’, which means that there simply isn’t enough work around to keep them busy.

So whilst freelancing can bring many benefits, including flexibility and variety of work, it’s not always the panacea that it’s made out to be.

Do you work freelance? What’s been your experience, and what do you think will happen in the next few years?

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