UK demand for freelancers increases as businesses cut permanent staff

Business demand for UK freelancers has increased, particularly as a result of permanent staff cuts and remote work, according to a survey of 1,500 UK freelancers and 1,000 business owners. Some 42% of surveyed freelancers say demand for their services has increased since the pandemic. More recently, 31% say increased demand is a result of UK businesses cutting permanent staff.

The study from Fiverr reveals that so far in 2022, half (49%) of UK freelancers have increased their workload. Whilst 43% say this is due to demand, over half (51%) have done so as a result of the rising cost of living.

How the rising cost of living is impacting UK freelancers

According to the study, 23% of business owners say the rising cost of living could mean they need to cut staff this year, and 20% say they would plan to use more freelancers. In turn, UK freelancers would rather increase their workload than increase their rates – 61% have kept their rates the same despite a turbulent economic climate.

However, 40% plan to raise them at some point in 2022 and 28% have already. The most common reason was attributed to the rising cost of living which has pushed 68% of them to consider this change. Of those who have raised their rates, 63% have done so by up to 10%, and 32% have raised them between 11-25%.

In fact, 1 in 4 of freelancers say they earn enough freelancing, but can’t afford to save and a further 25% of freelancers worry about making ends meet in the future. 63% believe that the rising cost of living is impacting their retirement plans.

Entrepreneurial freelancers are facing the challenges of increasing demand and external economic factors head-on by quickly adapting their approach and offering. 21% have taken it among themselves to increase the scope of their services or upskill in certain competencies (19%) to meet current demands.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Peggy de Lange, VP of International Expansion at Fiverr comments: “Since the pandemic, freelancers have become a vital part of the UK workforce, supporting businesses with a rapid shift to digital and remote work. Now, with the rising cost of living impacting businesses’ bottom line, freelancers are helping to fill gaping talent gaps created by a combination of staff cuts and the Great Resignation. However, our data confirms that freelancers are also feeling the financial pinch, so government should ensure to support them and the integral role they are playing as this situation evolves.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024