The figure is a 35.1 per cent increase on 2008, demonstrating the steep surge of British professionals choosing to use their skills and work as an individual on a freelance basis rather than joining a corporate structure.
Interestingly, the number of women operating independently has climbed by 41.2 per cent and spiked by 60 per cent for mothers. Comparatively, the number had risen by just 30.5 per cent for men.
Suneeta Johal, head of research, education and training, Kingston University, said: ?There has been a big increase in the number of freelance mothers. This shows that the flexibility that independent working offers is becoming a more and more attractive option for those whom a work-life balance is a priority.”
The freelance approach has also increased among young people, climbing by 26 per cent for 16-29 year olds, while there’s been an even higher growth of 47 per cent for people aged over 60.
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Johal added:? ?This research adds to the mounting evidence of a structural, rather than cyclical, change to the labour market.
“Breaking down the sectoral figures sheds light on how this growth has been achieved. Information Technology and Communications has seen a 71 per cent increase in numbers, whilst health and the art and literary sectors have both seen an almost 100 per cent increase.
A study of the freelance economy in January found that independent workers earn an average of ?43,000 annually for 38.5 hours per week.
Looking at the other side and explaining why businesses would turn to freelancers, The Work Crowd founder Alice Weightman, said: ?They allow businesses to ?flex up? and ?flex down? according to customer demand whilst also keeping overheads low.
“In short, embracing this new way of working can give firms the competitive edge they need to get, and stay, ahead, both in the short and long term.?
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