Taking the decision to leave salaried employment and begin contracting as an Umbrella Company Employee can be an anxiety-provoking but very liberating transition, and new research suggests that such a move is becoming increasingly appealing to working mothers.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that following changes to the child benefit system there are now record numbers of working mothers in the UK workforce, with freelancing growing fast amongst them.

Kingston University researchers recently found that some 210,000 working mothers were freelancing in 2011 – 13% of the total freelancing community; in fact, women in general constituted 38% of the freelance workforce.

Since 2008, the number of working mothers embracing freelancing has soared by 25%, which is twice the growth rate for freelancing as a whole. The implication is that women with children are turning to freelancing because of the flexibility it provides them, allowing them to balance their working lives with their family lives more effectively than a return to salaried employment.

Commenting on the trend, Julie Stewart, the chairman of the freelance trade group PCG, said it was no longer inevitable that women with professional careers had to end their working lives just because they wanted to start a family. She continued: “Freelancing offers an ideal opportunity to balance work and family life. Freelancing allows mothers, and fathers for that matter, the flexibility to spend time with family while continuing to operate professionally. This isn’t a way to earn a few extra pounds on the side – it is a serious, credible way of working that contributes in a way that is vital to UK business.”

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