Freelancers contribute £109bn to the UK economy

There has been a 36% rise in UK freelancers since 2008 as large firms and small enterprises "tap into growing pool of independent workers"

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  • Megan Dunsby

Freelancers generated £109bn for the UK economy in 2015 and now account for 6% of the country's workforce, research published by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has indicated.

The data shows that there were 1.91m freelancers at the end of the year, a 36% rise since 2008, with 1.65m choosing to freelance as their main job and 225,000 freelancing as a second job.

The research showed that there has been a 70% increase in freelancing mums in the last eight years, followed by a 63% increase in mature freelancers (those aged over 60), and a 51% increase in young freelancers (aged 16 to 29).

17% of all freelancers were found to operate in the media and art industries while 7% operate in teaching and education.

IPSE CEO, Chris Bryce, has said that the £109bn figure is a conservative estimate and that this number could actually be higher:

“Every day freelancers make an enormous contribution to businesses across the UK and the economy as a whole. Research shows the vast majority of freelancers love what they do, so it’s no surprise that increasing numbers of people are turning to this way of working.

“Large firms and, increasingly, small enterprises are tapping into this growing pool of independent workers who are available on demand, with the specialist skills to hit the ground running. There are few signs of the growth in freelancing slowing down any time soon.”

Megan Dunsby

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