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Quarter of employees considering working for themselves – research

Almost a quarter of workers have said they are considering working for themselves amid the continued boom in flexible working patterns.

New research found that 24% of employees are “considering contracting or freelancing”, with 19% saying they could make the switch within a year.

The data came from fresh findings from interviews of 1,447 UK adults by recruitment services firm Workwell and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

Around 55% of people said flexibility over how, when and where they work would be the key driver to change their work in this manner.

Chris Mollan, head of accountancy services at Workwell, said: “Contracting and freelancing remains an attractive option for substantial numbers of employees with around one in four considering giving up the security of working for someone else.

“It is clear that the motivation to switch is more about having increased flexibility in your working life and being to some extent your own boss than it is about earning more.”

Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE, said: “Government must not miss its opportunity to support people in launching a self-employed career, especially when today’s figures show a strong appetite to operate in this way.

“Simplifying tax rules for the self-employed and more tailored support and resources for new freelancers would not only help them to succeed early in their self-employed careers, but for many years to come.”

Meanwhile, contractors, freelancers and other people running their own businesses said they are spending an average of 5% of their working hours a month dealing with finance administration issues.

It came as those surveyed also highlighted growing pressure from late payments.

More than a quarter of people working for themselves said they have seen some payments take at least 60 days to be settled.

Mr Mollan added: “Late payment has always been a major issue for contractors, freelancers and those running their own businesses but it is worrying that nearly half are concerned about late payments particularly given the current economic climate with bills and mortgages rising.

“It is concerning to also see that so few contractors, freelancers and small business owners are seeing any improvement in late payment and that for many invoices are at least 60 days overdue.”