Freelancer numbers soar across EU

Friday 8 July 2016

The benefits of self-employment are attracting an increasing number of people, new research has suggested.

 

Published by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), the report found that freelancing is soaring in popularity across the European Union (EU). According to the figures, the number of freelancers rose from 7.7 million in 2008 to 9.6 million last year.

It revealed that, although there is a lot of uncertainty across Europe, self-employment is increasing in nearly every member state of the EU.

The sharpest rise was seen across Western Europe, with the UK, France and the Netherlands recording particularly high numbers of self-employed professionals across this period.

Interestingly, the report found that smaller EU member states are also enjoying an increase in freelancing. In Latvia, for example, there was a nearly 200 per cent increase in the number of people freelancing between 2008 and 2015.

It is hoped that this strong working force of self-employed people will help stabilise the UK and other member states, as the former looks to leave the EU.

IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce said: "Right across the EU, huge numbers of people are seeing the benefits of being their own boss and they’re finding the confidence to launch new businesses."

He said the sharp increase of nearly a quarter in just seven years showed these professionals were "a force to be reckoned with".

Previous research from IPSE has shown that freelancers contribute £109 billion each year to the UK economy alone.

Mr Bryce said that independent professionals are usually well-educated and in highly skilled positions, meaning they are vital to helping an economy boom.

Research from Field Nation found that the growing number of freelancers is an international trend, with money and passion being the main driving forces.

The average UK skilled employee earned £8,900 during Q1 2016, according to IPSE, but the equivalent freelancer earned almost three times that. In the US, freelancers say they earn more now they are their own boss than they did when they were an employed by someone else.

 


By Victoria McDonnell

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