More than 4.5 million people across the UK are now self-employed, and the number of contractors continues to grow at a healthy rate every month, according to the Office for National Statistics. In today’s digital and connected business landscape, being your own boss is easier than ever before and there is a wealth of contract job roles available in nearly every sector. London would seem like an obvious hub for skilled professionals, but is it really that well suited for flexible work?
Selecting a city to work from is more important than you think. If you are located in a financial hub where many businesses are operating, then there will be a greater chance of securing a job role. Even for highly skilled and experienced professionals, work can be harder to come by if there isn’t a nucleus of enterprises in a particular sector. The good news is that London has the largest financial centre in the country and the largest Gross Value Added (GVA), so it can be argued that is the best place overall for contractors and freelancers looking for work.
The country’s most talented contractors now earn around three times more than average UK workers, according to research by the Professional Representation Network, and London is a prime location for high pay rates. A staggering 26 out of the top 30 areas in the whole country are actually located in London and the south-east. Kensington tops the list of the highest average income for self-employed workers, at £125,000, which places it ahead of Cities of London and Westminster (£119,000), Chelsea and Fulham (£96,000), Westminster North (£89,100), and Wimbledon. In fact, London accounts for 14 of the top 15 locales when it comes to income.
Volume of workers
More than half of the people registered for flexible work are based in London, which is considerably more than the second most popular city, Birmingham, which has just 4% of workers. The capital is great for all types of contracting work but it is particularly lucrative for tech workers, and some of the most in-demand skills include graphic design, PHP programming, content writing and web design. London is definitely the biggest hub for creatives.
Professional Representation Network Director, Kristian Gourlay adds: “Clearly London and the South East is a flourishing environment for contractors seeking highly paid specialist work in a variety of sectors particularly in financial and professional services but also in IT, pharmaceuticals, creative and infrastructure.” Contractors in London and across the UK can also benefit by using an umbrella company such as Crystal Umbrella, as they will help with contractor pay and other financial obligations, while providing up-to-date advice and information about important legislation, such as IR35.
London is number one
Global freelancing platform Upwork, which has more than ten million registered freelancers worldwide, recently revealed that the overwhelming majority of flexible workers using their platform are situated in London, and every other major report and study indicates that is the number one location for contractors, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.