A new survey by PeoplePerHour has found that 25% of new freelancers have turned to self-employment due to losing their job after COVID-19.

Rise in freelancers due to COVID-19

Over the past year or so the world of work has changed dramatically. While the mass adoption of remote working has been a much-discussed topic, something that has perhaps slipped under the radar is the significant increase in people turning to freelance work.

PeoplePerHour, one of our best freelance websites, recently conducted a survey of new freelancers after realising that they had seen 1.5m new freelancer registrations to their platform since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 – that’s a 63% increase compared to the year before.

Why are more people turning to freelancing after COVID-19?

PeoplePerHour surveyed 1,000 freelancers in their community to find out why there has been such an increase in people signing up in the past 12 months. Of those that had started freelancing in the last year, 25% said they had done so due to losing their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – which has forced many businesses to downsize and make redundancies.

A further 10% of new freelancers have decided to start a side hustle after being furloughed during the pandemic, using a hobby or skill to earn some extra income.

Will freelancing be as popular post-COVID?

While there has been a significant rise in the numbers of people freelancing during the pandemic, the research by PeoplePerHour suggests that this trend is likely to continue once furlough schemes and lockdown restrictions have come to an end. 97% of respondents who started freelancing in the past 12 months said they plan to continue freelancing in some form after the pandemic.

When asked whether they would return to full-time employment after COVID-19, 40% said they would carry on freelancing on a full-time basis while almost 20% said they will return to employment and continue to freelance on the side.

What are the main motivations for becoming a freelancer?

Another surprising finding from the survey was that the motivation for freelancing is different between men and women. In the UK, 32% of women freelancers said that flexibility was the main reason for becoming a freelancer last year. For men, though, flexibility was a less important factor. The main reason for turning freelance for men was the opportunity to increase their income. Just 20% men said flexibility was their primary motivation, compared to 44% who cited increasing their income as the main motivation.

What insurance do freelancers need?

With so many realising the benefits that freelancing can offer, it’s likely that we will continue to see freelancers become an even more integral part of the global economy.

Whether you are a new freelancer or already well established in your self-employed role, you may want to know what insurance you might need to protect yourself and your business. For more information on this read our guide: Freelance insurance – a complete guide to the insurance products a freelancer might need

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