Empowering the Freelance Economy

Freelancers working in these industries claim the best work-life balance

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Does the sector you work in determine your happiness and work-life balance as a freelancer? According to a new study, it just might. See if your specialist area is among those that rank the highest.

  • Three in four (76%) freelancers in specialising in the US and UK arts and culture sector say they have a better work-life balance compared to their previous full-time roles, working just 6 hours of unpaid overtime per week. 
  • 71% of education freelancers say they have a better work-life balance compared to their previous role, working the least amount of unpaid overtime (4 hours) to any other freelancer.
  • HR freelancers get 33 holiday days per year on average – more than freelancers in any other industry.
  • Almost half of the freelancers surveyed in the US and UK plan to work freelance for the rest of their careers.

The top five industries with the best work-life balance for freelancers

RankIndustry% of freelancers feel they have a better work-life balance compared to their previous full-time roleUnpaid overtime worked per week
1Arts and Culture76%6
2IT & Telecoms72%13
5Architecture, Engineering & Building63%8
Source: Remote

The survey conducted by Remote found that almost three in 10 (28%) current employees in the US and UK plan to do freelance work in the next five years, and another 21% want to do it in the next 11 months. 

Young people aged 25-34 are the most motivated of all, with 40% aiming to go freelance and over half (52%) saying they would consider it on a part-time basis.  

That said, reservations about going freelance remain. Concerns over stability and income were a major theme in the survey, which also found that over half (53%) of employees are afraid of the lack of job security when going freelance, and more than four in ten (44%) are now more hesitant to go freelance due to the current cost of living crisis. 

These worries are particularly prominent among employees in the UK, said the report, with nearly half (47%) holding back due to cost of living concerns (compared to 38% in the US), and 60% scared of the lack of job security (vs 44% in the US). 

Over half (54%) of UK employees are also worried that freelance clients wouldn’t pay them, whereas only 36% of US employees share this fear, said the Remote report.

Freelancers put in more unpaid overtime than employees

Those looking to go freelance can expect to work longer hours and unpaid overtime. Both employees and freelancers work five days a week on average with a similar number of contracted hours, however, freelancers are more likely to work overtime than employees, the study found.

The survey revealed that freelancers work an average of 13.3 hours of paid overtime and 9.7 hours unpaid overtime per week, whereas employees work 8.8 paid and 7.4 unpaid overtime hours on average. 

Freelancers do however also benefit from more holiday, an average of 23.5 days of vacation per year compared to an average of 19.6 for employees. Over half (54%) of freelancers also said they take more vacation as a freelancer than they did as an employee. But they also have to factor those costs in along with sick pay, which they must save up for.

Do you think your sector should have been ranked top of the list? Share your thoughts.

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