Becoming an independent contractor or freelancer is an attractive proposition. There are huge benefits for working for yourself and the UK workforce is looking to embrace them. You might have developed your industry related skills in a permanent position before moving into contracting. Perhaps you developed your skills in education and want to build a career through freelance or contracting work. However, before getting started in these paths, it is good to know which industries have the most contracting and freelancing opportunities available.
How Many Freelancers and Contractors are there in the UK?
The latest figures suggest there are 1.4 million freelancers in the UK. This represents a 14% growth in the last ten years. During this same period, 66% of 26 to 29-year-olds chose a freelance career. According to research, 63% of UK employees are considering freelancing. Because of this, experts predict that 50% of the UK workforce could be self-employed by 2020.
The number of contractors in the UK is currently around 1.90m, which is up by a third since 2008. In fact, the flexibility of contractors have been attributed to helping the recovery of the UK economy after the 2008/09 financial crisis. With such interest from businesses for short term skill sets, this number will continue to rise in the future.
Industries naturally have more job openings when demand is high. The same can be said for contract work as a business may require skills that are not available from someone on their payroll. Which industries have the most contracting and freelancing opportunities? Here is our look at a few of the top industries in the UK.
IT is arguably the most popular specialised contractor skill in the UK. From software installation to testing and security, the demand for IT contractors continues to grow. As technology becomes more sophisticated and with the threat of a cyber attack a common occurrence, bringing in specialists to secure digital assets is vital. According to the Contractor UK index, the demand for IT contractors hit a seven year high in November 2016. Such demands ensure that the IT industry has plenty of opportunities.
CV Library even created a list of the five most in demand IT skills for 2018:
- Cyber Security
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Mobile Application Development
- Big Data
- Business Analysts
The demand for engineering contractors has seen a huge upturn in recent years. In fact, the number of engineering contractors has risen by 68% over the last five years. With more money being invested across the UK in its infrastructure as well cities finding funding to modernise themselves, the engineering remains an attractive proposition. So whether you are a civil engineer, construction engineer or an environmental engineer, contracting opportunities are aplenty within this industry.
The construction sector has plentiful opportunities for private contractors. According to the Kingston Survey, 20% of small businesses who ply their trade in this sector had almost 800,000 contractor workers. With the construction output value of Great Britain worth nearly £164bn, it seems to be a great time to work as a contractor in this industry.
Opportunities for freelancers work in a creative capacity are plentiful. Businesses are always in need of those who use words as part of their craft. Freelance writers get hired to craft content such as how-to guides, technical manuals, documents and producing blog posts, news and social media posts. For those wanting their website to rank higher on Google will also turn to SEO copywriters to support them. Businesses will also look for freelance designers to help create a brand that they can advertise. With over 2m creative industry jobs having been created in the UK, it is expected that opportunities will continue to be created in a freelance capacity.
List of Industries With the Most Freelancing and Contracting Opportunities
FlexJobs, a freelancer and contractor recruitment website, listed their top 10 industries with the most freelance and contractor jobs:
- Computer and IT
- Accounting and finance
- Customer service
- Software development
- Medical and health
- Project management
- Education and training
If you have skills within these industries, you can expect opportunities to be open to you to add to your experience.
Whichever industry you are in, 3 Wise Bears can help you with your accountancy. We work with freelancers and contractors to offer the best accountancy advice and the best accounting software on the market. For more information, please contact us today.