Freelancer confidence boosts at the end of 2015

Monday 8 February 2016

Everybody can benefit from feeling confident in their particular sector at work. However, for the self-employed this is especially vital. Feeling confident in your industry and the economy in general can boost your business success and make you more likely to take vital risks.

As such, many contractors will be glad to hear that the latest Freelancer Confidence Index from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has shown a marked rise in freelancer confidence in the last quarter (Q4) of 2015. This is especially good news as the previous quarter saw confidence drop to a record low.

The freelance industry has bounced back from this, with the current index recording a +9.8 for business confidence in Q4 2015, up from just +2.4 in Q3. This is also an increase year-on-year, as Q4 2014's index was also +2.4.

Meanwhile, contractor confidence in the general economy has risen from a score of -4.6 in Q3 2015 to +6.2 in Q4; an impressive increase of 10.8 points. This also showed a year-on-year rise, up from +0.5 in Q4 2014.

Chris Bryce, IPSE's CEO, said: “It’s great to see freelancers’ confidence in their business and economy bounce back after a significant dip in the autumn. These professionals play a vital role in bringing innovation and specialist expertise to British businesses and they need to be supported."

So what do these scores actually mean? Well, they translate to 35 per cent of freelancers having expressed confidence in their business outlook for 2016. In the previous quarter, just 28 per cent of contractors felt positive about their future and thought their business performance would improve.

The factors that contractors said would have a positive impact on their business varied, but 58.7 per cent agreed that building their brand and reputation would be beneficial in 2016. Over 40 per cent also said that improving the range of services they offered would have a favourable effect.

One element that several freelancers agreed on was that flexible working is having a positive impact on their business. Over 35 per cent of those surveyed by IPSE agreed that companies adopting these practices had led to their own performance improving.

One factor in all this is the shelving of the government's proposed changes on how small businesses are taxed. Mr Bryce said: "The fact that confidence returned to positive territory after the Government decided to shelve its plans to change the IR35 small business tax, shows just how big an impact government intervention can have on how people feel about running their business."

By Victoria McDonnell

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