IPSE is at the forefront of research into freelancing and self-employment. We work with our members, leading academic institutions and research agencies to to shed light on the needs and interests of freelancers so we can champion them in government and across industry. 

Trending stats



There has been an overall increase of 40% in self-employment since 2008.

£305 billion

The solo self-employed contributed an estimated £305 billion to the UK economy in 2019.



The number of highly skilled female freelancers has increased by 69% since 2008



The key reasons people go freelance are for the flexibility (88%) and control over work (88%) it offers.

Find unique insights from our research mini-hubs 


Women in Self-employment hub image

Gender equality in the workplace has been widely talked about but very little is known about the experiences of women in self-employment.

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Self-employed landscape hub image

This new report with Kingston University looks at the demographic and occupational trends of the solo self-employed sector in the UK in 2019 with a focus on highly skilled freelancers

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Freelancer Confidence Index hub image

We reflect on 2019 and begin to unravel the emerging trends in 2020 - not to mention the devastating effects of Coronavirus on the self-employed community.

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Self-employed for the disabled hub image

In our latest report we aim to uncover who are the disabled self-employed, what are their motivations for entering self-employment, what are the key challenges they face and how can we better support them.

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Freelancer Confidence Index hub image

While more and more people are enjoying the wellbeing benefits of self-employment, such as freedom, flexibility and control, they are also facing more of the same challenges.

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Freelancer Confidence Index hub image

We look at the financial wellbeing of the self-employed and some of the measures that can ensure that self-employment is a sustainable, fulfilling and financially rewarding way of life.

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Recent reports 


How freelancers respond to an uncertain economy: A longitudinal report on seven years of IPSE FCI data

This longitudinal report is the culmination of seven years’ worth of Confidence Index research and analysis. For the first time, we are able to look back and examine the trends. We can see the effect that political decisions and macro-economic variables have had on freelancers’ confidence and understand the impact of these factors by setting them in the wider context over a longer period of time.

IPSE's Freelancer Confidence Index Q2 2020

The survey measures overall trends in the market for freelancers in order to identify inflationary pressures, business confidence, and an overview of freelancers’ perception of general economic conditions for Q2 of 2020.

Covid-19 Report 2020

This new report by the University of Edinburgh Business School in association with IPSE examines the impact of coronavirus on some of the UK’s highly skilled freelancers. It shines a light on the groups that have been left out of government support measures and highlights the devastating effects that this lack of support is having on their businesses, personal finances and home-life.


A library of insights

Resource library

As part of IPSE’s commitment to learning more about the self-employed sector, we conduct, commission and publish new research on a regular basis. Here you can find our growing library of research into freelancing and self-employment.

Resource Library

Can't find what you're looking for?


Our research provides us with fresh insights and statics that not only help government and industry understand the self-employed sector, but also power our policy campaigns to improve the business environment and make the UK a better place to be freelance. 




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Uncovering answers to the important questions

Live surveys

By taking part in our surveys, you will provide important insights into the self-employment market that supports our work with government and industry.

We run many surveys throughout the year, so click on the link below to see what we have coming up. If we're inbetween surveys don't worry, we'll advertise these through our membership emails and on our social channels. 



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Resource Library


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