South-east of England is UK's freelancer hotspot

Tuesday 31 May 2016

More than one-fifth (22 per cent) of the UK's freelancers are based in the south-east of England, making the region the country's freelancer hotspot, new data reveals.

Figures from the Association for Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) shows that freelancing is particularly popular in the south-east, as a growing number of workers in the area strive to achieve the improved work-life balance that working in this way can allow.

London was close behind the south-east, with 21 per cent of Britain's freelancers living in the capital, while the south-west came in third place, with over one in ten (12 per cent) of UK freelancers residing in the region.

This means that there is something of a north-south divide among the nation's freelancers, with this form of employment significantly more common in the south.

The data, which was collated for IPSE's recent 'Exploring the UK's freelance workforce in 2015' report, showed that nine per cent of freelance workers in the country are situated in the north-west of England, while seven per cent reside in the West Midlands. The East Midlands, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber are home to six per cent each.

Meanwhile, Wales, the north-east and the east of England are each home to three per cent of Britain's freelancers. The smallest proportion lives in Northern Ireland, which was found to be home to just one per cent of the UK's freelancers in total.

While these figures certainly show that the nation's freelancers - of which there are currently 1.91 million - are spread across the whole of the country, it does highlight that this working style is particularly favoured by workers in London the south of England. However, it is important to bear in mind that these areas have bigger populations to begin with.

With more and more people choosing to work on a freelance basis to achieve a better balance between their personal and professional lives, it will be interesting to see whether or not there is a regional shift as to which areas freelancers are based in.

The IPSE report concluded: "Growth in freelancer numbers has continued unabated during both the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the subsequent economic upturn.

"The continued expansion of the freelance workforce indicates that access to a pool of suitably-skilled and well-motivated workers remains highly valued by organisational end-users."

By Victoria McDonnell

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