Revealed: the highest earning areas for UK contractors

Southampton scoops the top spot for working as self-employed in the UK, according to a new study.

The research from Intuit QuickBooks looked at the lives of over 5,000 self-employed people from across the UK, including working hours, financial status, satisfaction, holidays, loans, and mean income.

Southampton contractors earn nearly 20% more than UK average

Southampton topped the list of best places to work when you’re self-employed, with average earnings at £39,024 - 19.7 per cent higher than the average of £32,623.

The self-employed in Southampton also work two hours less per week than average. Some 79 per cent of those based in the city cite flexibility over their schedule as being a top benefit, while 69 per cent rate working on their own terms.

The others in the top five include London (£35,779) and Brighton (£35,589), proving that the south of England can be very profitable for the self-employed, despite the high cost of living.

The North takes home the prize for satisfaction and income

While the top five are the overall best, if you’re after pure profit, set your sights on Liverpool. The former cultural capital boasts earnings 43.7 per cent higher than the UK average, at £46,886.

On the flip side, if you’re less fussed about profit but value job satisfaction, turn your eyes to Sheffield. Those based in the city topped the list for satisfaction, despite having the second lowest average income at £24,791.

The top 5 cities

City Average income Hours worked a week
Southampton £39,024 26
London £35,779 27
Edinburgh £35,285 28
Brighton £35,589 27
Sheffield £24,791 27

Self-employed earn more, work less, and are happier

Dominic Allon, the vice president and managing director of Intuit Europe, said: “The surge in self-employment has been fuelled by demand for a better quality of life. This ranking will be particularly welcome news to Southampton residents, where the workforce has carved out the best balance to earn more, work less, and be happier.”

“There is a fantastic entrepreneurial spirit across the breadth of the UK, and we shouldn’t be held back by where we live. New technologies and platforms are enabling more of us than ever to explore new income streams and dramatically different working habits.”

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