Tax & admin · 30 August 2017

Freelance wages rise six times faster than regular employees

Urban man photographer with leather bag in the city. Close-up hands
By the end of 2015, freelancers were earning 36 per cent more per hour than the national average
Between 2010 and 2015, Britain’s independent professionals experienced wage growth at six time the rate of full-time employees, according to new analysis of labour market data.

The study, undertaken by freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour with researchers from University of Westminster Business School, showed that the average hourly rate charged by freelancers on the platform in the five-year period increased by 26.83 per cent moving from 16.34 to 20.73 per hour by 2015.

To put that wage growth in perspective, the study looked at freelance wagesagainst data taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). For workers in regular employment, wages rose by just 4.52 per cent in the five years to 2015 meaning slow growth from 14.60 to just 15.26.

By the end of 2015, freelancers were earning an average 5.47 per hour more than the national average for employees, or 36 per cent.

Commenting on the significant wage growth enjoyed by freelancers, Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founderand CEO of PeoplePerHour. attributed the widening gap to two central factors the quality of work delivered alongside greater demand from businesses for experienced professionals on a short-term basis.

with more highly-skilled professionals seeking equilibrium in their work-life balance, many are turning to self-employment as a way toboth command higher hourly rates and to have the autonomy they crave, ” Thrasyvoulou said.

equally, as companies switch on to themany benefits of the freelance workforce, freelancers are able to pick and choose their clients and negotiate theirhourly rate they are worth, and in turn, businesses are willing to pay more for the skills, expertise and flexibility such a workforce brings.”

Working for free

Despite the strong figures produced by PeoplePerHour, previous research has highlighted trends within freelance industries of unpaid work. In 2016, 70 per cent of freelancers were asked to work for free, according to one study.

Freelance photographers received the most requests, with 87 per cent asked to work for free. Some 16 per cent throughout the UK agreed.

The figures were released by Approve.io as part of wider research into workplace exploitation. A common tactic employed by larger brands on social media to get freelancers working for nothing, the company claimed, was the promise of industry exposure.

there’s a difference between helping out a mate or offering your time for free to a good cause or charity and being exploited by a businesses that could and should be offering to pay for your talent, said Charlotte Whelan, a project manager at Approve.io


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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