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New report shows freelancers at the core of Britain’s 21st Century economy

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Contractors across the UK will be interested to hear that a new report has said that freelancers need to be recognised and supported, in order for Britain’s economy to thrive.

The study, ‘The Role of Freelancers in the 21st Century British Economy’ has been carried out by Professor Burke, Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield and was commissioned by the Professional Contractors Group.

Professor Burke, said, “This study was prompted by a growing belief that our economy has changed to such an extent that we have to look again at the role of freelancers. No longer should we look at them as a shadow workforce filling in gaps when and where they are needed. More and more, we see freelancers driving innovation and efficiency in corporations and small enterprises as they grow and deal with the complexities of change. 

“Freelancers help business to manage risk, innovate and to undertake changes necessary to grow.  They do this in partnership with employees and executives.  Public policy needs to reflect this and have a fresh perspective of the 21st century role of freelancers as complementary to, rather than substitutes for, employees and often the creators of full time employment.”

The executives who were interviewed in the report were involved in a range of businesses from big corporations like BSkyB, Centrica and Panasonic to smaller companies like The Medsa Group and Flexmort and British businesses using freelancers to expand across the world like ARM Holdings. These executives detail why, when and how they use freelancers to enhance short and long-term commercial value.

John Brazier, Managing Director of PCG said, “The report is fascinating and casts a new light on this growing community. It is clear that freelancing is a vital link in the value chain that holds the UK’s industry and economy together. It is refreshing to hear voices of executives drawn from 23 different companies say that the agility, ability and flexibility of freelancers is ensuring the nation generates the maximum economic value from innovation. 

“In the minds of a substantial number of bosses freelancers are the real green shoots of recovery. We now need politicians and business leaders to cultivate these shoots and ensure red tape and a lack of clarity in tax matters doesn’t choke the progress or input of this sector.”

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