‘Freelancing is a feminist issue’

The number of working mums who freelance has shot up in the last decade.

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The number of mothers who are freelancing has risen by 80 per cent in the last decade, according to figures from IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.

The figures show working mums make up 15% of all freelancers. Although the numbers of working mums who are solo freelancers has increased significantly, between 2017 and 2018, numbers decreased by two per cent. In highly-skilled occupations the decrease was even sharper at eight per cent. However, in the same period there was a four per cent increase in working mothers in the very highest occupational group, which includes managers, directors and senior officials.

This tallies with the overall figures on women freelancers which show the number of highly skilled female freelancers rose by 63% or 334,000 over the last 10 years, taking the number of senior-level women freelancing in the UK to 863,000.

The professions that saw the largest rises since 2008 were health, the arts and media and functional directors within companies.

Senior freelance business analyst and Chair of IPSE Caroline Morgan, said: “This is brilliant news for the UK economy, with highly skilled women adding their knowledge and experience to a wide range of organisations and industries. Women are recognising that freelancing is a great career choice. The senior women I speak to chose to be their own boss for a wide range of reasons, from variety in their career to balancing family life…

“More than ever, this shows that freelancing is a feminist issue, and that we urgently need the government to modernise its tax and employment systems to support it.”

The research, which was developed in conjunction with Kingston University, also showed that the UK’s solo self-employed population has risen from 3.2 million to 4.4 million or one in seven of British workers. IPSE estimates they contributed a total of approximately £275bn to the UK economy in 2018.

*Next month – 20th June – is National Freelancer’s Day.

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