A new report has highlighted the growing contribution that freelancers are making to the UK economy.
Research published by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has indicated that freelancers’ contribution to the UK economy rose to £119 billion in 2016 – an increase from £109 billion in 2015.
Freelancers currently make up 42 per cent of the 4.8 million-strong self-employed population and continue to be the fastest-growing segment, with a collective economic output comparable to that of the entire motor sales industry.
There are now two million freelancers working in the UK, which represents a 43 per cent increase since 2008. The amount of female freelancers is also on the rise, with the number of women working this way up by 55 per cent from 2008, compared to a 36 per cent increase in males. This was driven in large part by a 79 per cent growth in mothers working as freelancers since this point.
Although generally speaking it is the millennial generation driving freelance growth, with a significant 66 per cent increase in freelancers in the 16 to 29 age bracket since 2008, those over the age of 60 now account for 20 per cent of the market, showing that this form of self-employment has opportunities to offer people of all ages.
Chris Bryce, chief executive officer of IPSE, said: “At a vital time when the economy needs to be dynamic in the face of growing uncertainty, freelancers are providing on-demand resources to businesses allowing them to be flexible in response to change.
“The vast majority of freelancers love what they do, so it’s no surprise that increasing numbers of people are turning to this way of working.”