After some wavering optimism in the previous quarter, the UK’s freelancing and contracting community has recovered its confidence in the economy and in its own business prospects, a new survey from IPSE and global leader in online work Elance-oDesk has revealed.

The quarterly Freelancer Confidence Index polled almost 1,000 freelancers and contractors and found rising confidence in the UK economy, reversing the gloomier trend recorded in the last three quarters.

The key findings are as follows:

  • Umbrella Company Employees and other contractors continue to earn more than traditional employees, chalking up average quarterly earnings of £30,000 – around 20% above the average for employees.
  • Day rates have risen by 1% since the last quarter of 2014, from £525 to £531. 27% of the respondents expect day rates to climb further, while 56% expect them to remain stable and just 17% expect them to fall.
  • A record 87% of the freelancers polled were under contract at the time of the survey.
  • More contractors and freelancers reported a rise in the volume of work over the last three months (38%) than those who saw a decrease (20%).
  • Respondents revealed a surge in confidence from 3.95 to 9.42 about their own business prospects for the next quarter. The rise was even more marked for the outlook for the next 12 months, leaping from 0.6 to 7.19.
  • Confidence in the UK economy over the next three months leapt from 5.7% to 16.46%, with the 12-month outlook surging from 4.75% to 18.05%.
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