By Daniel Hunter

Freelancing is now the fastest growing sector of the labour market following the significant rise in the amount of independent professionals across Europe, research commissioned by PCG has shown.

There has been a 45% rise of independent professionals across Europe, making this the fastest growing sector of the labour market says the report by Professor Patricia Leighton from the University of South Wales.

So why the shift?

Marta Stelmaszak is a freelance translator who decided to go solo four years ago. She said: "Freelancing gives me the possibility to combine all my passions and put all my energy into running a business that works for me. Since I became a freelancer, I have had more control over my life-work balance and I have felt much more fulfilled on a personal and professional level. Everything that I felt was lacking in an in-house job: flexibility, independence, creativity, now forms a part of my freelance business. Plus, freelancing is extremely rewarding!”

This is echoed by many freelancers, including Brand Consultant, Greg Dillon, took the decision to go freelance three years ago. He said: “I’m able to work across multiple projects, and I’m never unchallenged and bored at work. I’m lucky enough to work with inspirational people every day, which is something I won’t ever take for granted.

“Working from home is not a problem, and the flexibility that freelancing brings is second to none. I’ve also learned how to run a business, which has helped me understand my clients’ needs on a whole new level.

“I’m in charge of my income and rates, and I can work as much as I want, and I’m able to maintain a healthy work life balance, and enjoy my time off.”

Freelancing clearly benefits individuals but it is also proven to benefit the economy too, with a second research project commissioned by PCG and conducted by Professor John Kitching of Kingston University showing that freelancers contribute £95billion every year.

Julie Stewart, Chairman of PCG, said: “Firstly, freelancing benefits individuals hugely, giving them the flexibility that many in full-time employment crave. Secondly, it also benefits businesses, because research has shown that freelancers help their clients grow. Thirdly, it contributes billions to the economy.

“Next week we celebrate National Freelancers Day, and these new statistics show that we should be more proud than ever of our way of working.”

National Freelancers Day takes place on Thursday 21st November 2013. The day celebrates the millions of independent professionals in the UK today, acknowledging the work they do, the personal risks they take and the huge contributions they make to the economy.

Karren Brady is the keynote speaker for the National Freelancers Day evening event. She will be joined by a high-profile panel of experts for a ‘Question Time’ style debate at LSO St Luke’s in Central London. On the panel is Isabel Oakeshott, Political Editor of the Sunday Times, LBC’s Nick Ferrari and BBC Business expert Liz Barclay along with John Glen MP. Freelancer and broadcaster, Sue Lawley, will chair the debate.

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