Research Shows 1 in 4 Want to Switch to Contracting

7 November 2023

New research by IPSE and Workwell shows that nearly one in four employees are considering switching from full-time employment to become contractors or freelancers.

In a recent study, we found that 24% of employees would consider going freelance and nearly two fifths of respondents indicating they could make the move within the next 12 months.

We collaborated with IPSE, a community of over 35,000 self-employed people, to conduct the research.  We questioned people already working as contractors, freelancers and small business owners to find out what motivated them to switch from employment.

We were told:

  • People want more flexibility over how, when and where they work – 55% surveyed
  • 45% of respondents said they wanted to be their own boss
  • 20% said they wanted to increase their earnings
  • 30% switched because they didn’t like where they were working
  • 7% had reassessed what they wanted from life following the pandemic

More than two-thirds (67%) questioned said they had been contracting, freelancing or running their own business for more than four years.

Chris Mollan, Head of Accountancy Services at Workwell said: “Contracting and freelancing remains an attractive option for substantial numbers of employees with around one in four considering giving up the security of working for someone else. It is clear that the motivation to switch is more about having increased flexibility in your working life and being to some extent your own boss than it is about earning more.

“However making the move does require planning and a clear idea of what you are going to do as well as expert support on a wide range of issues around accountancy and tax efficiency that people in employment will not have had to think about.”

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE, said: “It’s no surprise that self-employment’s offer of increased flexibility and autonomy in work continues to be an attractive option for swathes of the UK’s workforce. For many, this could mean turning a passion project or side hustle into a fully-fledged freelance business, whilst for others self-employment offers a sustainable route to work for people managing a long-term illness or caring for others. Despite this, those considering a career in self-employment have been continuously overlooked in this government’s ‘back to work’ drive.

“Government must not miss its opportunity to support people in launching a self-employed career, especially when today’s figures show a strong appetite to operate in this way. Simplifying tax rules for the self-employed and more tailored support and resources for new freelancers would not only help them to succeed early in their self-employed careers, but for many years to come.”

Note: We commissioned independent research agency Viewsbank to interview 1,447 adults aged 18-plus between July 6th and 18th 2023 including 398 who are self-employed, freelancers or contractors.


Suggested Reads

Research Shows 1 in 4 Want to Switch to Contracting

What Expenses Can You Claim For Working From Home?

Jul 3, 2024 | Workwell News

If you’re a sole trader or operating via your own limited company and use your home as your main base for work, you can claim tax relief on some of…

Read more
Research Shows 1 in 4 Want to Switch to Contracting

How Do Dividends Work?

Jun 11, 2024 | Workwell News

If you’re switching from employed to running your own company, it’s important to understand how to pay yourself. It takes a little effort to know how to do so tax-efficiently,…

Read more
Research Shows 1 in 4 Want to Switch to Contracting

Guest Post: How To Get Control Of Your Time

May 9, 2024 | Workwell News

How to get control of your time as a self-employed professional. Being your own boss can be liberating. You make your own rules and there isn’t an authoritative figure telling…

Read more