Nearly one in five freelancers are self-employed as a side-gig alongside an employee position, according to new research from a freelance jobs marketplace.
Freelancing was the ticket out to a higher income during multiple lockdowns for many in the UK, PeoplePerHour found, as more people have turned to freelancing alongside employee jobs during the pandemic.
“There has been a remarkable increase in the number of people working a freelance side-hustle,” director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, Andy Chamberlain.
The director added that, “for some, of course, this trend reflects the need for additional income because of the financial hit of the pandemic.”
19 per cent of freelancers are now self-employed as a side-hustle alongside an employee position, with 37 per cent turning to the gig economy in the last 12 months.
A lasting trend
The data suggests a spike in the number of side-hustlers during the pandemic, as nearly a quarter of freelancers, or 24 per cent, said they become self-employed to boost their income.
This trend is likely to continue, the research found, with 98 per cent of side-hustlers planning to continue freelancing in some form. Meanwhile, 13 per cent said they planned to take their side-gig full-time.
Throughout the pandemic, PeoplePerHour has seen its largest rise in registrations in over a decade.
Nearly a quarter of a million people, or 227,000, applied to use the platform last year. Soaring from 136,000 in 2019.
However, it was not just the UK where side-hustling proved helpful. Globally, the platform saw a 61 per cent jump in freelancer registrations.
Over a third of those who signed up to the platform last year did so because they lost their job or were furloughed due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, 44 per cent were looking to increase their income and 20 per cent wanted to switch to freelancing full-time.
A further 22 per cent of those surveyed planned to work part-time as a freelancer and 33 per cent said they would continue freelancing alongside a full-time employee position – as ‘grind-culture’ and the gig economy prevail in a turbulent job market.
Flexi-working has proved not only desirable for office-based workers, with over half of freelancers citing greater flexibility.
“Just like the Bank Crisis before it, the pandemic has proven to be a powerful catalyst for people to reassess their work lives,” the founder of PeoplePerHour, Xenios Thrasyvoulou, said.
“Whether this is through freelancing full-time or supplementing their employment with a side-hustle, British workers are exploring the best way to take control of what they earn.”