UK freelancers confident about business prospects in 2016

Freelancers reported a marked increase in performance for final quarter of 2015 and while optimism remains, costs are expected to increase this year

UK freelancers reported a significant increase in confidence in their business performance and the UK economy across October to December 2015, according to a survey conducted by by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) and Upwork.

Following a record low in business confidence in July to September of -4.6, freelancer outlook for the UK economy was found to have increased to +6.2 with 35% of freelancers expecting business performance to improve in 2016; a jump from 28% in the previous quarter.

A majority of the freelancers credited building their brand and reputation (58.7%), innovating the services offered (40.9%), and adopting more flexible working practices (35.7%) as the main reasons for increased confidence.

However the outlook for freelance professionals including IT project managers, mechanical engineers and journalists, was less positive with average quarterly earnings down 10.4%.

60% of the freelancers surveyed also said that they expect their business costs to increase in 2016.

Chris Bryce, IPSE chief executive officer, commented:

“It’s great to see freelancers’ confidence in their business and economy bounce back after a significant dip in the autumn. These professionals play a vital role in bringing innovation and specialist expertise to British businesses and they need to be supported.”

Rich Pearson, senior vice president of international at Upwork, added: “As a growing number of freelancers in the UK turn online to find work, we expect success and ultimately confidence among this group to increase.”

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