Contractors working through umbrella companies or their own limited companies may be encouraged to hear that freelancing is on the rise, according to a new study commissioned by the PCG and conducted by Kingston University.

In 2008, the first study found that the number of freelance contractors in the UK stood at an impressive 1.4 million, representing one twentieth of the workforce. The latest research now puts that figure at 1.56 million, a growth of 12%.

The growth prompted a fulsome endorsement from Prime Minister David Cameron. Celebrating the PCG’s National Freelancer’s Day, which falls today (23rd November), Mr Cameron said “I have a huge respect for all those who make the brave decision to branch out on their own and take control over the way they work.” He went on to add that the Government recognises that freelancers make a valuable contribution the economy and that freelancers have the Government’s full support.

The figures are based on an analysis of Government and ONS data, and reveal that the highest number of freelancers work in literary, arts and media occupations (265,000). Freelance managers come next with 161,000 contractors, followed by those in education and teaching (110,000). Specialists in IT contracting number 93,000.

PCG Managing Director John Brazier welcomed the growth, adding “The figures underline the steady growth in the sector in turbulent times, and confirm a widely held belief that more and more skilled and talented individuals are opting for freelancing as a work/lifestyle choice, or because of economic circumstances.”

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