More women taking to freelancing

Friday 29 April 2016

Anyone familiar with freelancing and the world of self-employment knows that becoming your own boss can give you a lot of freedom. However, when it comes to mothers freelancing, opinions are divided. Some say that running your own business while raising a child can be too difficult, while others see the freedom that self-employment grants you as a benefit.

The latest research seems to agree with the latter, as a report from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has found that more women are going into freelancing. This was found to be true even if the subjects had recently had a child.

The report, entitled 'Exploring the UK Freelance Workforce in 2015', found that more women are going into freelancing than ever before. The gender split is roughly 60 per cent male, 40 per cent female, however if current trends continue that figure looks likely to even out over time.

Of those freelancers, around 287,000 are mothers. That means that nearly 38 per cent of self-employed women are actually working mums, equating to one in seven freelancers when men are taken into account.

This demographic is one of the fastest-growing in the freelance industry. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of mothers working as freelancers increased by an amazing 70 per cent. This is around double the rate that the freelance population overall has grown.

This is helping to boost the UK economy overall. IPSE estimates that freelancers bring £109 billion to Britain's economy, which is a conservative estimate. The research suggests that freelancers might be generating even more revenue.

Chris Bryce, IPSE's chief executive, said: "Every day freelancers make an enormous contribution to businesses across the UK and the economy as a whole. Research shows the vast majority of freelancers love what they do, so it's no surprise that increasing numbers of people are turning to this way of working."

The report has discovered a few other interesting statistics about self-employed people, which now makes up around six per cent of the UK workforce. Between 2008 and 2015 it grew by 36 per cent, to a total of 1.91 million people.

In addition to the rise of working mums as a freelance demographic, older people are increasingly becoming their own boss. The report discovered that there was a 63 per cent increase in self-employed people over the age of 60 between 2008 and 2015.

Professor John Kitching from Kingston University London and author of the report, said: "Freelancing continues to be an important contributor to the UK economy. Independent Professionals are operating in all sectors of the UK economy: men and women, young and old, throughout the UK."

By Victoria McDonnell

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