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- Making the case for freelancers: Evaluating their role in the modern economy and challenging the stigma around self-employment
Making the case for freelancers: Evaluating their role in the modern economy and challenging the stigma around self-employment
- 16 Jun 2022
- Joshua Toovey
- Almost two-fifths of employees (39%) reported that they have considered working for themselves.
- A third of employees (33%) believe that they could make more money working for themselves.
- Of those currently adopting a side hustle, three in 10 (35%) started their side-hustle to help them cope with the current cost of living crisis.
After experiencing a decrease of 800,000 individuals in the self-employed population since 2019, our research now reveals that two in five employees (39%) have considered becoming a freelancer whilst 28 per cent anticipated becoming self-employed in the future.
Interestingly, those currently employed in media, marketing, advertising, PR and sales (57%) and construction (47%) are the most likely to have considered making the move across to self-employment. Moreover, the research found that men are more likely than women to envisage themselves becoming self-employed in the future (30% compared to 25% respectively).
When breaking down the reasons why employees are interested in becoming a freelancer, the research found that the main factor was flexibility (49%), followed by being their boss (48%) and an improved work-life balance (48%). In addition, the research found that over three in 10 employees (33%) believe that they could make more money working for themselves.
The research also examined the attitudes the public have towards self-employment as a whole, revealing that the overwhelming majority of employees (72%) believe that the contribution that the self-employed make to the UK economy and society is either fairly or very positive. This is supported by previous IPSE research, which found that the solo self-employed workforce contributes an estimated £303 billion to the UK economy per year.
Perceived barriers to self-employment
For those uninterested in becoming a freelancer, the research found that their main reason for not making the switch is wanting a fixed regular income (55%), followed by job security (49%). Further barriers for employees included not knowing where to start (36%), not having enough financial capital to set up a business (35%) and lacking confidence in their ability to work for themselves (29%).
The research also looked into the rise in side-hustles - those in full-time work creating additional sources of income through a secondary role, business or gig. It found that almost half of full-time workers (46%) are interested in adopting a side-hustle whilst 12 per cent currently have a side hustle. Interestingly, women are slightly more likely than their male employee counterparts to be currently adopting a side-hustle (14% compared to 11% respectively).
With worries around inflation increasing in recent months, the research found that of those with a side hustle, over three in 10 (35%) started their side-hustle to help them cope with the current cost of living crisis. It also found that of those that haven’t yet started a side hustle, over half (55%) would consider starting a side-hustle to help them manage the current cost of living crisis.Read the full report here
Meet the author
Senior Research and Policy Officer
- Joshua Toovey
- 6 Apr 2022