Freelancing soars in popularity in London


The number of freelancers working in Greater London has increased by 59 per cent since 2008 according to research published by IPSE.

Of the two million freelancers in the UK, 21 per cent live in the Greater London area. This represents the fastest growth in freelancer numbers in Great Britain.

Almost one in five (18%) of these freelancers work in artistic, literary and media professions. This occupational group is the largest of all freelancers in the UK, with London accounting for a quarter of all those working in these occupations.

The full report can be viewed here.

Numbers at a glance:

  • Of the two million UK freelancers, 21 per cent live in Greater London
  • There has been a 59 per cent growth since 2008 – 159,200 more freelancers
  • London is the fastest growing region for freelancer numbers in Great Britain
  • Since 2008 there has been a 95 per cent increase in the number of female freelancers in the capital, compared to a 55 per cent increase UK-wide
  • There has been a 40 per cent growth in male freelancers in London across the same period
  • The average age of freelancers in London is 45 – slightly lower than the national average of 47
  • Overall, freelancers in the UK now make a huge £119 billion contribution to the economy.

Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, commented: “London is a global powerhouse in innovative, flexible and advanced work. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the capital is a hub for freelancers. There are a large number of supportive communities and co-working spaces in the capital which are changing the freelance game and flexible economy in London for the better.

“However, we must all recognise the striking rise in women freelancing in London, and ensure they are properly supported in this way of working. In areas such as Maternity Pay the self-employed receive reduced support. At IPSE we’re working to see this change.”

Ben Matthews, director of London-based digital marketing agency Montfort, added: "Freelancing gave me the freedom, flexibility and financial benefits that you just don't get with a normal office job. I get to choose which clients I work with, can choose when and how I work for them, but get rewarded with a higher income because of the extra risk I'm taking on.

“You need an entrepreneurial spirit to really make a success of freelancing, but once you're used to the lifestyle it brings substantial benefits for those who make the leap.”

Meet the author

Tom Hayward

Senior Press & PR Officer