Flexibility attracts Brits to contract work

New research has shown what umbrella contractors and freelancers already know: flexibility is a massive draw when it comes to the self-employed.

File this one under the “things we’ve been saying for years” category: freelancing offers the kinds of perks that make Brits happier with their lives overall. Ask anyone who works for themselves instead of as a permanent employee and they can tell you that contract workers have so much higher levels of flexibility compared to a traditional employee that it just isn’t funny. Choosing your own hours, your own projects, and your own workspace means never having to sit in traffic during your morning commute unless absolutely necessary – and even better, most temporary positions tend to offer better earning opportunities while also providing an enhanced work-life balance.

Well, there are official figures to back up these claims. A new research study found that almost one out of three freelancers favoured working as a self-employed contractor because it provides better control over work-life balance. Meanwhile, 39 per cent said that better earning opportunities were the biggest draw; 37 per cent chose increased flexibility to select their own working hours as the best thing about working as a freelancer or an umbrella company contractor.

The research was conducted by US-based business supply company Staples, and as such the figures represent the attitudes of American contractors. While this of course doesn’t offer any exact data on British freelance workers, it does reflect a wider trend internationally – with one out of every workers in the UK considered to be self-employed, motivations of British contractors are likely to be more or less in line with the collected data.

The benefits to employers were touched on by this new study as well, as firms looking to fill vacancies often have a larger pool of candidates to choose from. This is absolutely true in the UK, as we’ve got this little thing called a skills shortage that has been making it difficult for employers to find qualified permanent employees – especially as an increasing number of Baby Boomers are transitioning out of the workforce and settling into their new pensioner lifestyles. Additionally, with the trend towards remote working growing not just in the UK but internationally, employers have massive resources at their disposal if they do choose to find a temporary, project-based solution to their staffing needs. Coupled with the benefits of controlling their payroll expenditures through using contractors, is it really any wonder how popular using freelancers has become in the employment sector?

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