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Number of European freelance professionals soars

A new report into ‘independent professionals’ (I-Pros) working in Europe shows that the number of European freelancers has grown by over 80% since 2000.

The study, published by Stéphane Rapelli on behalf of the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP), shows that while the number of standard employees stagnated over the past decade, the number of freelancers has risen by 82%.

Key findings

The top 4 freelance nations by numbers of I-Pros, according to the report, are:

Italy – 1.69m

UK – 1.61m

Germany – 1.53m

France – 0.73m

Many of these freelancers work in technical, scientific and professional areas, although there are major differences between countries. 53% are educated to degree level, and 61% are aged between 25 and 49.

Of more interest, perhaps, is the change in freelance numbers over the past three years, since the economic downturn hit the continent.

The number of freelancers has boomed in certain states – notably France (up 36%), the UK (up 25%), and Germany (up 24%), but has declined in Italy (down 1%) and Spain (down 9%).

John Brazier, the MD of PCG (the UK contractors’ organisation), and president of EFIP commented:

“Having access to freelancers in an economy provides flexibility, value and minimises risk to businesses. This is important when times are good but when times are bad, these factors become the difference between success and failure.”

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