Half of the UK workforce could be self-employed by 2020

Tuesday 30 June 2015

The ongoing trend for increased interest in working freelance could lead to 50 per cent of the country being self-employed by the year 2020. This is according to a new study, which looked into the future of freelancing in the UK.

Entitled The Evolution of the On-demand Economy, the report was put together for Peopleperhour and shows that the self-employed labour market is growing faster than any other. If this rate is sustained then half of the workforce will be freelancing in just five years' time, it found.

In addition to this revelation, the study pointed out that the availability of freelancers, contractors and short-term employees of all kinds is proving beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, this demographic of company could be saving as much as £6,297 a year through utilising this resource.

While this move is good for everyone, it means the number of people filling out self-assessments in terms of tax is growing. There is therefore greater demand for sole trader bookkeeping to help these self-employed parties stay on track.

There is a strong campaign to try and simplify the tax system to make it easier for freelancers to navigate. As was reported yesterday, David Morris MP, the ambassador for this area, is hoping to tackle the complicated piece of legislation that is IR35.

Should his crusade be successful, then it is likely that even more people will be tempted to become freelancers in the future. The Peopleperhour study also showed that it is common for contractors to start this way of life alongside their permanent role to get a feel for it and establish themselves before taking the leap.

While this is wise, prospective freelancers only need to talk to those who have been working in this way for a long time to see that there are many benefits of contracting. It may require the development of skills in new areas, but many people take to freelancing like a duck to water.

By Victoria McDonnell

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