Becoming a contracting Umbrella Company employee and freelancing for a living can make you one of the happiest and most productive workers in the UK.

So says new research from Brighton University’s Business School, which found that the majority of freelancers work a 38-hour week and earn a median wage of £43,000 – substantially higher than the £25,000 national average. They are also happier than other workers, the study found.

One of the study’s lead authors, Dr Jonathan Sapsed, said: “For many, freelancing is emerging as the ideal lifestyle, especially in creative and digital industries where people can work from any location, including home, and which demand high levels of innovation.”

Dr Sapsed and his colleagues assessed 304 freelancers from a range of professions in southern England. He added: “Many had indeed been made redundant by their former employers, but far from struggling to get by, many were doing well and said it [redundancy] was the best thing that could have happened to them.”

Of around 31 million people currently in work in Britain, an estimated 4.6 million are freelancing.

Commenting on the study, culture, communications and creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said that it showed the vitality of the freelance economy. Freelancers, he said, are playing a key role in “driving the culture of innovation in the creative and digital industries”.

As such, he added, they have become a vital part of Britain’s economic growth.

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