With the development of technology that has made it easier to find and execute short-term freelance work, the gig economy has grown at an immense rate in recent years. Since 2016, the arena has more than doubled from 2.3 million workers to 4.7 million. The flexible workforce also provides huge boosts to the overarching economy. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed estimates that the figure contributed by the gig economy stands at £130 billion.
A recent report on world’s best freelance markets named the UK as the second most lucrative country in the world for gig economy workers with Britain having seen a 59% increase in freelancer revenues in the past year. The ten countries that are most lucrative for freelancers based on year-on-year revenue growth are:
- USA – 78% increase in freelance revenues
- UK – 59% increase in freelance revenues
- Brazil – 48% increase in freelance revenues
- Pakistan – 47% increase in freelance revenues
- Ukraine – 36% increase in freelance revenues
- Philippines – 35% increase in freelance revenues
- India – 29% increase in freelance revenues
- Bangladesh – 27% increase in freelance revenues
- Russia – 20% increase in freelance revenues
- Serbia – 19% increase in freelance revenues
So why is the UK such a good home for freelancers?
With the expansion of the gig economy comes the advent of services that are specifically designed for freelancers. Recruitment agencies in the UK have grown by 46% in the past two years and now more of these are specifically dedicated to helping freelancers find short-term work.
As well as helping the flexible workforce find work, there are now services that help freelancers with their finances whilst working. These include banks that have specific accounts to help freelances with their business accounts. Not only are there services designed to help freelancers, but also those hiring them with a few companies providing innovative timesheet solutions for employers utilising the gig economy.
With the boom in those opting to work freelance there has also been a sharp increase in office spaces designed for freelance workers with co-working spaces that allow a variety of freelancers to work in the same environment becoming increasingly popular.
Nick Woodward, CEO of ETZ Payments, offers the following commentary: “It is great that the UK is such an excellent breeding ground for innovative freelance work. The gig economy is growing exponentially and is only likely to continue with more and more highly skilled workers opting to work in a freelance capacity to earn more money and achieve a better work/life balance. As this trend develops we can expect services which are dedicated to freelancers to grow with companies being built to offer services in legal and financial aid to those in the gig economy.”