women holding up her hands in a nice deserted area

Research released by IPSE, the association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, found that Freelancers are generally happier than fixed term employees; we wonder if it’s the freedom, the autonomy or the absolute control that Freelancing brings.

It’s all good and fair to see entrepreneurial spirit in budding freelancers, grafting their way up the career ladder, but are they actually happy? According to IPSE, it seems exactly so.

The report draws a comprehensive link between independent working and work life satisfaction, finding that 84% working as a freelancer are satisfied.

Let’s break this down:

66% of freelancers ticked that they were feeling ‘cheerful’ towards working as a freelancer

50% said they were feeling ‘optimistic’

46% said they were feeling energetic towards working as a freelancer

There are 2 million freelancers in the UK, contributing £119 billion to the economy, and the numbers are steadily on the rise. IPSE said that the growing army of freelancers are ‘key enablers’ for ‘innovation and efficiency driven performance,’ making up just less than half of the overall population of self-employed professionals.

Freedom, autonomy and control

So, what do freelancers desire to improve their work-life wellbeing and state of mind?

  • Confidence in abilities – self-efficacy
  • Pride in the work they do
  • Enough opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills
  • Financial security
  • Confidence in availability of freelance work
  • Freedom and self-control
  • Optimism and energy towards work

“One possible explanation behind this heightened sense of job satisfaction is that those who choose to be self-employed value the autonomy and flexibility that comes with this way of working, which offsets the negative aspects associated with independent work,” said by IPSE.

The volatility of self-employment tends to pose as the first barrier to freelancing, as the future can be uncertain. If you were to face a gap in employment, you typically wouldn’t be entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, or the employment rights of a fixed term employee. You would be required to prepare for gaps in employment by forming a war chest which functions as a rainy-day fund, which can prove quite handy when demand is low.

Negative aspects which are counterbalanced by the positive aspects, as stated above, include:

  • Lack of labour market demand
  • Financial Instability
  • Lack of confidence in ability for first-time freelancers

The End Game

IPSE have concluded that there is a positive link between ‘the decision to become a freelancer, job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.’ This suggests that the ongoing surge in freelancing is not due to a short-term solution during the recession, but because as a career choice, working as a freelancer is more satisfying.

If you’re struggling to make the move from permie work to contracting, it’s time to question the psychological and wellbeing effects.

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