The apprehension surrounding a Brexit landscape has unsettled the freelancing sector in the UK. This is according to a national survey conducted by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed.
Almost two thirds of freelancers (63%) reported a negative outlook for the economy over the next twelve months, and 49% felt negatively about their business performance outlook during the same period. These are both the lowest levels recorded since IPSE’s quarterly survey began. Just 15% felt positively about their business outlook in the next twelve months.
Plummeting confidence levels are being observed among freelancers despite the survey also revealing that daily rates of pay, quarterly earnings and time spent working have all increased to their highest levels recorded by IPSE. These figures, including freelancers recording just 1.7 weeks of time spent out of work, suggest the underlying performance of freelance businesses remains strong.
The attitude of government towards freelancing is by far the top factor (81%) expected to negatively impact business performance over the next twelve months. This comes at a time when government has proposed significant changes to the way public sector contractors are taxed, which will impact their ability to operate in this sector. Not surprisingly freelancers looked inwards to the value of their personal brand and reputation in the marketplace as the factor most expected to enhance business performance over the next twelve months (54%).
Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, said: “The uncertainty of the Brexit vote and its aftermath will undoubtedly have played a big part in the drop in freelancers’ confidence levels. As well as this, contractors working in the public sector have had to deal with Government’s proposal to unfairly apply employment taxes. However, it is encouraging to see that freelancers are working more now than ever before. Clearly businesses value the flexibility and resilience freelancers provide at this time. In a post-Brexit world, a flexible economy provided by the freelancing sector is essential to the UK’s success.”