We have been running our bi-annual Contractor Attitude Survey for some time now, and one of the questions we particularly love to see responses to is the one that asks what people love about contracting. So we were very interested to see the findings of a recent poll of by Intuit QuickBooks, which found that flexible working is still seen as the primary benefit of working as a limited company contractor, or as a freelancer.
The Intuit QuickBooks survey went to 5,000 people and found that more than three quarters (77%) of respondents cited ‘being able to control their own work schedule and hours’ and being the number one benefit of contracting, while over two thirds (66%) stated that they ‘liked being able to work on their own terms’. Which is pretty much the same thing really!
A similar proportion (65%) also said that running their own business had also provided ‘greater life satisfaction’ that they had experienced while being an employee – something which we’ve always noticed with our own survey, relating to questions around work/life balance.
Likewise, we’ve always found the issue of less office politics to be a key benefit amongst our own client base – and this was reinforced by the Intuit QuickBooks poll, with around half of those surveyed (47%) stating that they really appreciated not having to worry about office politics since working for themselves.
It was interesting to note that almost a quarter (23%) of those who responded to the survey said that they originally only started working for themselves after redundancy – but it’s clear that, having been forced into making that decision, a huge percentage of people are now quite happy with the way their careers have developed outside of standard employment.
We’ve also noticed with our own survey that more and more people are turning to contracting after retirement, and this was also borne out by the latest poll – which found that contractors aged 65 and over are earning £40,000 a year on average for just 21 hours work. Which is great news all round!
Another factor which probably adds to this result is that more than two thirds of responders (66%) stated that they were now earning as much money, or even more, after moving into contracting or freelancing. On average, contractors and freelancers earned £33,000 per year, which is significantly more than the average UK salary of £28,000 – and yet they work around 10 hours less a week.
Commenting on the finding of the poll, vice-president and managing director of Intuit Europe Dominic Allon said, “People are becoming self-employed in droves. The financial rewards, extra time available and better quality of life are the headline benefits of a career and lifestyle choice that is changing the face of the UK’s workforce. With more and more opportunities becoming available, all enabled by better tech and infrastructure, it’s a trend we expect to increase at pace.”