Telephone iconCall UsTelephone icon0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Chevron left icon
Knowledge centre

Revealed: 31% annual surge in UK freelancers

2-minute read

Sam Bromley

20 June 2019

Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

The UK economy is becoming increasingly reliant on the freelance workforce’s contribution to a range of different industries, according to new Simply Business data.

As one of the UK's biggest business insurance providers, we know the UK’s freelancers and self-employed are the backbone of the economy. That's why we’re celebrating National Freelancers Day 2019 – and why we’ve delved into our data to reveal trends in the UK freelancer market, recognising the vital contribution they make.

The results are fascinating. The Midlands tops the list of regional hotspots, while emerging lifestyle businesses are driving a huge surge in freelancer growth.

31% annual rise in people looking to go freelance in 2018

First thing’s first – there’s been a big overall surge in people looking to go freelance, with a 31 per cent annual rise.

But while major trades like IT support and consultancy remain reliant on freelance support, the real growth in this space is being driven by a wave of emerging lifestyle and creative businesses. This suggests that more people are attempting to turn their hobbies and passions into businesses.

  • for example, more and more people were looking to become dog walkers in 2018, with a 60 per cent year-on-year increase in requests for insurance
  • beauticians and home bakers are two industries also seeing phenomenal growth, demonstrating 159 per cent and 68 per cent annual increases respectively
  • yet more freelancers are keen to take their services to their customers – there’s been a 51 per cent year-on-year increase in mobile beauticians looking for insurance
  • finally, the creative industries are also enjoying a freelancer boom. There’s been a 24 per cent increase in freelance photographers (and an incredible 91 per cent growth since 2016)

The UK’s regional freelancer hotspots

The new data also reveals that the Midlands is a freelancer hotspot, with more people feeling inspired to go it alone there than any other:

PositionRegion
1The Midlands
2East Anglia
3North East England
4North West England
5South Central England
6London
7South West England
8Scotland
9Wales
10Northern Ireland

And breaking this down by profession, it’s clear that it’s the UK’s regions driving freelancer growth in the emerging lifestyle industries.

This is because London’s most popular freelance trades still include traditional private sector roles such as project managers, accountants and consultants – whereas the story in the Midlands is different:

London:

PositionTrade
1Accountant
2Teacher/tutor
3Project manager
4Caterer (excluding mobile vans)
5Graphic designers

The Midlands:

PositionTrade
1Hairdresser
2Teacher/tutor
3Mobile hairdresser (including renting a chair)
4Dog walkers
5Courier

Similarly, the North East of England’s top three freelance growth industries are hairdressers, dog walkers and mobile hairdressers. Northern Ireland’s top four industries include booming sectors such as make-up artists, beauticians and photographers.

There are now 4.8 million self-employed workers in the UK

The new data chimes with figures from the Office for National Statistics, which show that the number of self-employed workers has increased from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017.

In total, it’s estimated that the self-employed market contributes £275 billion to the UK economy.

Bea Montoya, COO of Simply Business commented: “On National Freelancers Day 2019, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine the light on this crucial sector, celebrate its continued growth, and dig deeper into the individual professions that are behind the trend.

“Our data highlights the stark increase in the number of people turning their hobbies into their livelihood. It’s truly great to see so many people pursuing their passions, whilst also driving the success of countless other businesses.”

Our data is highly anonymised and based on analysis carried out in June 2019.

What do you think of these freelancer trends in the UK? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.

Start your quote

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Facebook icon
Share
Twitter icon
Tweet
LinkedIn icon
Post

People also liked

11 September 20193-minute read

Great British Bake Off: the number of independent bakeries in the UK rises by 48%

New data from Simply Business reveals that the number of independent bakeries, cake makers and tea and cake shops has been consistently…

Read more

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Categories

Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub

Address

6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2020 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.