The latest Freelancer Confidence Index indicates that flexible workers are feeling positive about their prospects for the remainder of the year, with the majority of the 700 freelancers surveyed from across the UK during the third quarter saying that business confidence was high.
This metric has been rising since the final three months of last year and suggests that businesses are committed to growth plans and are making more investments, while consumers are also positive due to rising wages and low inflation.
Confidence is also likely to have increased during the summer following uncertainty during the run up to May’s general election; however, the responses were noted prior to George Osborne’s 2015 Finance Bill and summer budget, which contained several measures that have proved unpopular with contractors.
Contractors have also reported an increase in the cost of doing business, with one factor being a rise in the price of air travel. The cost of doing business could be set to increase further if the Monetary Policy Committee hikes interest rates from the current low of 0.5% in the near future.
Flexible workers are now being paid 11% more on average than they were three months ago, with companies continuing to value the experience and skill sets offered by talented contractors as talent shortages continue to be keenly felt.
Demand for freelancers across all industries has fallen since the spring, which may due to particular industries placing a greater emphasis on retaining skilled workers while other industries slow down hiring rates; however, the overall picture is positive for freelancers through 2016 due to increased consumer spending and growing business confidence.