Posted by: Creativematch | Date added: Thu 13 Dec 2012
A survey by PeoplePerHour suggests there is a significant difference between the growth in freelancing across the country - but what are the drivers behind this?
· Yorkshire sees fastest growth in freelancer population
· Freelance population in Bradford increases by 165% in 12 months
· Ashford in Kent is top freelancer hot spot in south of England
· Top freelance skill sectors: web design, copy writing and graphic design
With an ever increasing number of people freelancing to earn extra money, start their own micro-businesses, have a more flexible work-life balance, or simply as a stepping stone back into full time employment, the freelance workforce is now a vital contributor to the UK economy. But where are UK’s freelancers based? And what does Freelance Britain look like today?
Online freelancer marketplace PeoplePerHour, has created a ‘Freelance Map of Britain’, showing how the freelance workforce is spread across the UK and revealing hot spots, where the number of people joining the freelance ranks over the past 12 months has grown at the fastest rate. PeoplePerHour looked at the locations of more than 300,000 freelancers registered on the website, and the results of their research revealed a clear north-south divide in Freelancer Britain 2012 – with a booming freelance marketplace in the North, and nine out of the top 10 freelancer hot spots situated in the North of England and Scotland.
The figures revealed that the Yorkshire region is a hive of freelancer activity, with four Yorkshire towns and cities, Bradford, Sheffield, Halifax and Huddersfield, appearing in the list of top UK freelancer hot spots.
Head of the top 10 table is the west Yorkshire city of Bradford, which has a population of almost 300,000, and used to have a thriving textile industry. Over the past 12 months, Bradford has seen its freelancer population more than double, with the number of people registering on PeoplePerHour, and selling their skills and services through the website, rising by 165% in the past 12 months.
Similarly, Sheffield (139%), Halifax (123%) and Huddersfield (115%), have seen their freelancer population swell in the past year. And the north west of England and Scotland also feature prominently in the top 10 list, with Liverpool (135%), Manchester (130%), Dundee (132%) and Aberdeen (111%) all experiencing a boom in people working for themselves, and selling their specialist skills and services online.
Surprisingly, there are no cities in the south or East of England that feature in the list of top 10 freelancer hot spots, and only one city in the Midlands, Leicester (146%), which has seen the second biggest rise in freelancer numbers in the past 12 months.
Although freelancers are selling a range of skills and services online, from design to book-keeping, it is the creative economy that is growing faster than any other sector. In the list of most popular services offered by PeoplePerHour freelancers, web development and design, copy editing and writing, graphic design, and SEO fill four of the five top spots.
Interestingly, when you look at the skills and services being offered by location, freelancers based in the north are generally offering more creative services, such as writing, design and illustration. While in the south, the most common services include legal support, accounts and book-keeping and general administration.
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