Workingmums.co.uk’s survey of contracting and freelancing shows a big interest from parents, but the conditions need to be right.
Over two thirds of parents would consider freelancing or contracting with the main factors that might persuade them to take the plunge being higher earnings and the availability of more flexible childcare, according to a workingmums.co.uk survey.
The survey covered over 700 parents, most of them women, who are not currently freelancing or contracting, half of whom were looking to return to work after a period off work.
Only 8% said they would not consider freelancing or contracting and this was mainly due to insecurity [61%] and childcare inflexibility [49%] which ranked much higher than employment rights [27%].
The survey also included 346 parents who are currently contracting or freelancing, with only 26% saying them would move back to permanent work if they could. Work life balance was a key reason why they went down the freelance route [82% chose this], with 40% saying it offered them greater variety. Some 59% said the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. Of those who would move to permanent jobs 63% say this is because of lack of security and 42% because of a lack of employment rights. Just under half [47%] of current contractors/freelancers say that it took them less than a month to find their current work.
Comparing those who would consider contracting with those who are already doing it, the survey found:
Over half [52%] of those surveyed have more than 10 years experience in their field and 44% have a university degree. Sixteen per cent have a higher qualification.
Mandy Garner, editor of workingmums.co.uk, said: “At times of economic uncertainty we know that contracting and freelancing often expand so it is interesting to note what might make them more attractive to parents and what the experience is of current freelancers and contractors. Flexible working seems to be an important benefit, but it needs to be accompanied by greater flexibility in childcare as well as the right level of pay to compensate for greater insecurity and a lack of employment rights.”