More than 1.4 million British freelancers working across various sectors are currently helping revive the UK economy, a report by Elance – the online staffing platform – called “Generation Y and the Gigging Economy” concludes.
ccording to the report, which asked over 1,000 Gen Y graduates in the UK aged between 20 and 33, a staggering 87% of the country’s top graduates regard freelancing as a very good career option. Moreover, 29% of all graduates say freelancing will play a significant role in their career development over the next five years. During the last year alone, the number of businesses hiring freelancers grew 46%, while payments to freelancers rose 37% annually. In addition, Elance’s report showed that the average hourly rate for freelancers in the UK rose by 6.7% in 2013.
The shift to freelancing, or “gigging”, has brought flexibility and helped unlock talent in many small and mid-sized businesses. The rise of this new profession has helped employers cut costs, since consultants or temporary workers don’t receive health care and retirement benefits, vacation time or office space. Unlike full-time employees, who most often have general skills, freelancers bring in specific, niche talents for a limited time, the report suggests. Elance advises businesses to treat freelancers as extensions to their teams and ensure that they have someone to answer their questions, handle issues and monitor their work.
IT and programming job opportunities are the fastest growing in the freelance market. Some other top skills freelancers supply to businesses include article writing, content writing, English translation, blogs and web content, graphic design, PHP and copywriting, among others.
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