In the wake of recent PCG-commissioned research conducted by Professor Patricia Leighton of the University of South Wales, freelancers have been speaking about why there has been such an extraordinary growth in professional contracting and freelancing across Europe.

The study showed that the number of ‘independent professionals’ – such as many Umbrella Company Employees – has soared by 45% across Europe, making them the fastest-growing sector of the labour market.

Freelance translator Marta Stelmaszak went solo in 2009 and eloquently describes the benefits of freelancing: “Since I became a freelancer, I have had more control over my life-work balance and I have felt much more fulfilled on a personal and professional level. Everything that I felt was lacking in an in-house job – flexibility, independence, creativity – now forms a part of my freelance business.”

Greg Dillon became an independent brand consultant three years ago. Freelancing, he explains, provides him with numerous stimulating projects and ensures he gets to “work with inspirational people every day”.

He is, he explains, in complete control of his pay rates, income and working hours, and is “able to maintain a healthy work life balance, and enjoy my time.”

PCG chairman Julie Stewart said that freelancing brings huge benefits to individuals, “giving them the flexibility that many in full-time employment crave.” It also helps the businesses that commission freelancers – studies show that freelancers frequently help businesses to grow.

Last but not least, research by Kingston University’s Professor John Kitching shows that the economy as a whole benefits from freelance contributions by some £95 billion each year.

It is little wonder that freelancing is on the rise.

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