Contractors take less holiday, but are happier

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Few people get involved with self-employment because they want more free time; most freelancers will agree that their career involves a lot of hard work and not much holiday. As it turns out, the facts back this up. However, this does not mean that being your own boss makes you miserable; quite the opposite!

A recent study from Qdos has found that, while the amount of time freelancers take off each year dips significantly below the UK average, their job satisfaction tends to be higher overall. This shows how important benefits like flexibility are to the happiness of those who are self-employed.

The research found that the average number of days a conventional, full-time employee has off annually is 28. The self-employed respondents didn't take anywhere near this much time off, with 68 per cent of them stating that they took fewer than 22 days' holiday in an average year.

Overall, 25 per cent of contractors take between 16 and 21 days off annually, and 27 per cent take between ten and 15 days. Some 16 per cent of the freelancers polled said they took less than ten days of leave each year.

However, despite the fact that over 68 per cent of the self-employed take less time off than their conventional full-time counterparts, it doesn't seem to have a major effect on their job satisfaction. In fact, more than half (54 per cent) of the freelancers surveyed said that they were satisfied with the amount of annual leave they had.

Of the 46 per cent who believed they did not get enough time off, 30 per cent said this was because they preferred to "work and earn instead". Another 30 per cent said it was because they couldn't afford to take leave, while 20 per cent said they were too busy to take any holiday.

Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos, said: "That the majority of freelancers and contractors are happy with the amount of holiday they take each year reflects that independent workers are by and large enjoying a healthy work-life balance, despite the fact that at least 68 per cent do not take as much holiday as full-time UK employees.

"This dispels any myth that freelancers and contractors do not work as often or as hard as full-time employees, while also highlighting that independent workers are, more often than not, available when businesses need them most."

It is important for freelancers not to burn out, and taking regular time off can be a key part of this. However, you may find that you simply don't need to take the time off due to the amount of satisfaction you get from being your own boss.

By Victoria McDonnell

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