UK's freelance economy underpinning overall growth

28th January 2015

The UK’s freelancers are fuelling the country’s economic growth, with new research demonstrating that freelancers enjoy good incomes with a median salary of £43,000 per annum.

According to a report conducted by Dr Roberto Camerani, research fellow at the University of Sussex and Dr Jonathan Sapsed, research fellow at CENTRIM in University of Brighton’s Business School, creative and digital industries account for a growing proportion of the UK economy – more so than construction, advanced manufacturing and financial services.

The findings serve to further highlight the stability of UK’s self-employed professionals, earning a median income of £42,857 while working an average of 38.2 hours a week.

Britain’s digital economy is regarded as one of the strongest markets on the planet, with creative industries generating £71bn in revenue each year, creating almost two million jobs in the process.

It’s therefore no surprise that 94 per cent of self-employed respondents said they prefer to be self-employed rather than being an employee.

Dr Roberto Camerani, co-investigator on the project, said: “Freelancers achieve good results in terms of earnings and growth rates, showing, at the same time, a high level of wellbeing.

“Freelancing emerges as both a lifestyle and a working-style choice, a viable option to combine a fulfilling professional career with other aspirations, such as the personal, familial, altruistic, or artistic.”

Freelancers remain fiercely ambitious too, with nearly a quarter (24.7 per cent) of respondents indicating that global revenue is important in addition to income from local and regional streams.

Many also aspire to develop products and services and aim to run a company with employees in the coming years.

“This research shows that self-employment is not a second-best mode of work for these creative-digital-IT freelancers,” said Dr Jonathan Sapsed, principal investigator on the Brighton Fuse project.

“The overwhelming majority prefer this status and are looking to expand their self-employed activities.

“Many freelancers simply dream of greater and greater independence and choice in how they spend their working lives.”

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