ONS: contractor growth outstrips traditional employment

There are more than three new contract workers for every one new traditional employees, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.

Whether it’s freelancing, working as an umbrella company contractor, or starting up a limited company, Brits are flocking to self-employment at unheard-of levels. The ONS says that the current rate is standing at something like 6.6 per cent. On top of that though it’s an even more impressive figure when you learn that Brits going into employment – good, old fashioned nine-to-five work for an employer – is only occurring at a rate of 1.9 per cent.

Think about that for a moment: more than three times the number of new traditional employees are going into freelancing instead. Apparently the writing on the wall is being read, and it says that not working for yourself is for the birds. For what it’s worth, the ONS has already seen evidence of this; the government organisation found out recently that nearly five million Brits work for themselves instead of an employer. That’s a massive figure, as it’s a quite weighty 15 per cent of British workers overall essentially going into business for themselves. Not only that but the UK is ranked third when it comes to the number of people turning to contract work throughout the EU.

If you ask me, this is just proof positive that the contributions of British interim workers can no longer be ignored by the Government. Freelancers and contract workers have been a major contributor to the UK economy for decades now, and it was their incredibly hard work that helped bring the country out of the doldrums caused by the credit crunch and resultant worldwide recession. With more and more Brits turning to the contract working lifestyle, that 15 per cent figure is going to grow exponentially to the point where there’s an even more impressive percentage of Brits working on their own.

What does this mean for the contracting community? Well hopefully it will lead to better representation in Westminster. Now that policymakers can see how many Brits have a vested interest in legislation that will affect their ability to work for themselves, I’ll wager we’ll start to see some very interesting election campaigns. It won’t be long before both Labour and the Tories start trying to court freelancers for votes. I’m sure UKIP will try as well, but who in the world listens to those xenophobes?

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