Spike in people freelancing as a side hustle

The number of people freelancing alongside employed jobs has risen significantly over the past year, according to a new survey.

Woman freelancer on her laptop


There has been a spike in people who have turned to freelancing alongside employee jobs during the pandemic, according to new research, which shows nearly two fifths of people freelancing as a side hustle began over the last year.

The survey of over 1,000 freelancers by PeoplePerHour, the freelance jobs marketplace, shows nearly one in five freelancers (19%) are now self-employed as a side-hustle alongside an employee position. Thirty seven per cent said they started freelancing in the last 12 months.

The research also suggests this trend will continue, with 98 per cent of side-hustlers saying they plan to continue freelancing in some form. Of these, 13 per cent said they planned to take their side-gig full time, 22 per cent said they planned to work part time as a freelancer and 33 per cent said they would continue freelancing alongside a full-time employee position.

Over half (55%) of people who freelance on the side of their employed job say this is due to a desire for greater flexibility and over two fifths (44%) say they wanted to increase their income.

The rise in the number of side-hustles and other freelance work is reflected in the PeoplePerHour platform. During the pandemic, PeoplePerHour has seen its biggest rise in registrations for more than a decade. Almost a quarter of a million (227,000) people applied to use the platform in 2020, up from 136,000 in 2019.

Of those people who signed up to the platform in 2020, over a third said they did so because they lost their job or were furloughed due to Covid 19, 40 per cent wanted to increase their income and 20 per cent wanted to switch to freelancing full time.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “There has been a remarkable increase in the number of people working a freelance side-hustle. This seems to be a function of the additional time many employees have got out of the pandemic – whether because they have been furloughed, unable to work their normal jobs or simply because they are no longer losing time to the daily commute.

“For some, of course, this trend reflects the need for additional income because of the financial hit of the pandemic. For others, it seems likely this is a positive trend: that they have been able to use their extra time – and the flexibility of freelancing – to explore hobbies and passions and turn them into added income.

“The key is for the government to ensure there remains a welcome and supportive business environment for these new freelancers once the country opens up again: to support this new enterprise whether people are fully self-employed, or part-time freelancing alongside other work.”


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