ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Short term contracts explained

Freelance work is increasing in today’s so-called gig economy. David Adams looks at what this means for businesses and those who work for them

The gig economy has always been with us. In the past, labourers and skilled craftspeople were often paid by the day. In the present day, a huge range of casual shift workers and skilled freelance professionals work in every industry sector, from catering to the media, from logistics to financial services, the public sector and the third sector.

About 4.6 million people in the UK are now self-employed, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That is about one million more than in 2006. But, the percentage of self-employed workers within the total workforce has risen quite slowly, from 13.4% in 1996 to 14.9% today, according to Work Foundation research/ONS figures.

What has changed is that it is now easier to become a freelance worker, and freelancers are often easier to find and hire, thanks to social media, freelance forums and the changing attitudes in the workplace.

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 251, February 2017, p.17-19.

Find out more