Independent workers motivated and happy, study reveals

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Making the move into self-employment has helped many independent workers feel happier, more fulfilled and more motivated in their careers, research has suggested.

One of the key reasons for this appears to be that self-employed people are often able to earn more for doing the same amount of work as regular employees.

MBA & Co, a staffing firm that specialises in supplying freelancers and contractors, conducted a survey of independent consultants which found that 91 per cent of respondents felt satisfied with their lifestyle.

Two in three people participating in the study (68 per cent) said they were working fewer hours than they did in their last regular job and a similar proportion (67 per cent) were earning as much if not more money.

The research highlighted a number of factors that have motivated people to make the leap into self-employment, which were mainly related to having more flexibility and control over their lives - both professionally and personally.

More than six out of ten consultants (62 per cent) wanted the option to pursue other business interests and 57 per cent were looking for a better work/life balance.

Women (62 per cent) were found to be more interested than men (57 per cent) in striking a better balance between their work and home lives, and were also more likely to miss the excitement and activity of being in a conventional office (49 per cent compared to 37 per cent).

Looking at the potential drawbacks of going solo, the research revealed that 84 per cent of consultants sometimes worried about where their next assignment would come from.

Only 40 per cent said they missed having other people around them at work.

Daniel Callaghan, chief executive of MBA & Co, said the findings illustrate why independent working is appealing to various sectors of the workforce, including people at the highest levels of business.

"It is clear that self-employment has become a very attractive alternative to a traditional career in management," he said.

"There is a huge migration towards self-employment amongst higher management in business and this survey helps understand the reasons why so many people are jumping ship."

The staffing firm has predicted a big increase in the number of top-level freelance consultants over the coming years.

With up to 650,000 professionals potentially joining the move away from regular employment, there could be over a million consultants working independently in the UK by the end of 2020.

Mr Callaghan described this trend as a "brain drain of epic proportions" and a "warning sign to businesses" that traditional, nine-to-five working could soon become a thing of the past.

He added: "The migration of workers at all levels had been accelerated by the growth of cloud-based marketplaces which make it easier for freelancers to find project-based assignments."

A recent report from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies highlighted a two per cent year-on-year increase in temporary and contract vacancies in professional sectors, with finance and accounting leading the way.

By Victoria McDonnell

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