People across the UK are choosing work as flexible as their lifestyle.
There are over 32 million people working across the UK and a little under 4.5 million of them are self-employed. This figure has seen an impressive jump over the last few years, according to IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) rising 47% between 2008 and 2018. Contractors. Gig Workers. Freelancers. We have many names for the trendsetters who are leading the charge on independent work, but what they all share is a drive to do things differently. IPSE’s recent report on Self-Employment in the Modern Economy lifts the lid on this revolutionary group of workers. We take a closer look at their findings and discover how freelancing is changing the face of work as we know it.
Independent Work is Essential to Our Economy
Independent work is big business. In 2018, the solo self-employed sector contributed £275bn to the UK economy. This startling figure shows just how important independent workers have become.
There is a Gender Divide
When we look at the rise in independent workers by gender, it is women who are leading the charge. There has been a 63 percent rise in skilled female freelancers in the period between 2008 and 2018, and 1 in 8 working mothers are self-employed. However, men still dominate the overall figures making up 65% of the self-employed workforce.
Over 40s are Embracing New Ways of Working
We often associate the freelance lifestyle with millennials and Gen Z, so it’s surprising to note that it’s Gen X and Babyboomers who make up the largest number of self-employed people across the UK. There are more than 2-million independent workers aged between 40 and 59, making up almost 50% of the self-employed population.
Artistic Professions Top The Polls
Artistic, literary, and media occupations account for 16% of highly-skilled freelancers, followed by managers and proprietors in other services. 57% of the 2.1 million skilled freelancers in the UK have a degree. It’s this shift to a highly-skilled, professional freelance workforce that has been the defining trend of the last decade.
It’s a New Way of Living
Self-employment is rapidly becoming not just a way of working but a way of living. It signals a departure from the constraints of the 9 to 5 and many of the traditional attitudes surrounding work. It’s helping people to pursue passions and continue their career as they start a family or move into semi-retirement. Is freelancing the new normal? Not yet – but the self-employed sector continues to go from strength to strength.
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