UK freelancer confidence soars despite predicted economic downturn

Freelancers in support roles such as legal and healthcare most confident in their ability to secure work over the coming months

Over two thirds (68%) of UK freelancers are as or more confident in their business outlook for the year ahead than they were at this point last year, according to research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE).

The survey revealed that confidence in the economy among freelancers has dropped to -19.9, compared to +6.2 in the final quarter of 2015, yet this pessimism has not extended to freelancer business prospects.

Freelancers worked for 84% of the first quarter of 2016; an increase on the average freelancer work levels of 80% across 2015. By sector, the most confident freelancers were those in technical support roles such as legal and healthcare.

Personal brand and reputation in the marketplace were cited as the most important factors to enable freelancers to drive business performance (57%), while government attitude towards freelancing was listed as the most significant factor which negatively affected business performance (54%).

The news follows other recent research by IPSE which reported that freelancers generated £109bn for the UK economy in 2015 and now account for 6% of the country’s workforce.

Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, said: “This survey shows that freelancers are resilient. Most remain confident in their business even as they are less sure about how the economy will shape up in the next 12 months. Because they work flexibly, freelancers are in many ways much better equipped to deal with a volatile economic picture.”

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