Researching freelancing: why you should be involved..

20 May

Helen Giddings, PCG's Research and Information Officer

In a lecture I observed earlier this week at the Hammersmith Apollo, when questioned, Professor Brain Cox was able to define the size of our Galaxy…How…Scientific research provided the answer.

At PCG, we are constantly questioned about the size of the freelance workforce. How do we set about defining freelancers and contractors? What contribution do freelancers add to the UK economy? We need research to provide these answers.

Whilst I am fully aware my career choice is not everyone’s cup of tea, the sheer volume of requirements for robust research and data from those within PCG, external stakeholders, politicians, the press and members does demonstrate the vital importance in properly representing our members.

As you can see above, with PCG’s leading position in the contractor and freelance market and reputation as the UK’s leading association representing the sector, comes constant pressure for new information.

PCG has responded to this pressure so far by demonstrating the size of the freelance workforce (1.4 million freelancers in the UK ) and the value added (21 Billion to the UK economy) among other research projects.

As a researcher it is now my responsibility to build on this and develop research that informs freelancers and drives wider understanding.

Why bother, you may ask?

Because we need people to stand up and notice the value of freelancing.

Every time PCG speaks out on behalf of a cause, be it tax related or methods of working we are required to justify our claims – this is all underpinned by research.

These requests vary – from those in Government around our work on IR35 or Security Clearance; through Recruitment Agencies – on how to work with freelancers; to members and freelancers themselves to instil confidence in their way of working.

Ultimately we need research to make our voice more audible and increase the visibility of freelancing at all levels, as well as helping professional freelancers understand how they fit into the wider sector.

 I am currently organising PCG’s first ever benchmarking survey for the membership which will be with you all in the next few weeks.

Why should you get involved?

  1. Information is a essential to enable PCG to design services and support freelancers against current issues.
  2. Because you will receive the results – they are for you – to show how the sector is operating and improve your business model.

I really hope you’re as interested about understanding more about current trends and freelance practices as I am and that you do get involved in this important process for PCG and freelancing in the UK.

It might not be defining the size of the universe but it will still make a huge difference.


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