Southampton named best UK city to be self-employed

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Freelancers looking to relocate should do their research as to the best places for them to go, and a new study has made that task easier. According to research from Intuit QuickBooks, Southampton is the best place in the UK in which to be self-employed, based on a range of categories.

The research, entitled the ‘Definitive Study of the Self-Employed’, found that London, Edinburgh, Brighton and Sheffield rounded off the top five cities for freelancers after Southampton. To conduct the study, 5,010 UK self-employed workers were quizzed about six different factors.

These were working hours, financial status, life satisfaction, holiday sacrificed, loans taken out to cover expenses and mean income. Overall, Southampton came out on top when the results were added up and averaged.

Self-employed workers in the city can expect to earn £39,024 per year on average, which is significantly more than the UK average of £32,623. Freelancers in Southampton also work 26 hours per week, which is two hours less than the average for the self-employed.

An overwhelming number of Southampton's freelancers are happy with the move to working for themselves, with 71 per cent saying their financial status is better since doing so and 83 per cent reporting an improvement in life satisfaction.

Interestingly, other cities in the top five feature happier freelancers. In London, Edinburgh and Sheffield, respondents reported a higher level of life satisfaction with 84 per cent, 84 per cent and 85 per cent respectively saying this was higher than when they were salaried workers.

However, Southampton came out on top due to higher levels of economic stability. It has the highest mean yearly earnings of the top five - with London coming in second place at £35,779 - and a higher percentage of freelancers reported their financial status was better since becoming self-employed than in any other city.

However, if it is purely salary you're motivated by then Liverpool might be a better place to move to. Although it didn't make the top five, it has the highest average self-employed earnings in the country at £46,886.

When asked what the main benefits of being a self-employed worker in Southampton were, 79 per cent said control over their own schedule, 69 per cent said flexibility to work on their own terms, and 68 per cent said being their own boss.

Dominic Allon, Intuit Europe's vice president and managing director, said: “The surge in self-employment has been fuelled by demand for a better quality of life. This ranking will be particularly welcome news to Southampton residents, where the workforce has carved out the best balance to earn more, work less and be happier."

By Victoria McDonnell

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