What’s the average day rate for freelancers in the UK?
Some of the UK’s 1.9 million freelancers are charging higher day rates and enjoying longer contacts, according to new research. Find out which disciplines are attracting the highest rates and longest projects.
Highly skilled freelancers have been charging higher day rates and enjoying longer contracts since the height of the Covid pandemic, according to the annual Rates Report by freelancer job platform YunoJuno.
In April 2021, the UK implemented its long-awaited IR35 tax legislation targeting self-employed individuals. The market was braced for major upheaval, but the demand for experienced talent saw a return to confidence with some highly in-demand disciplines like Developers seeing a near-100 % increase in bookings within six months of IR35’s introduction.
However, during this same period, the use of umbrella companies – which act as an intermediary between contractors and clients in the supply chain for payroll purposes – has grown substantially since the reforms to IR35 in the private sector in April 2021. In fact, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) umbrella company workers have stated that their clients insisted they work through an umbrella company since the changes to off-payroll working last year, according to IPSE research.
Almost two thirds (63%) of contractors stated that they had some level of choice but were given a limited range of umbrella companies to choose from whilst, concerningly, five per cent were unable to choose their umbrella company and had to operate through one allocated to them.
Average rates saw a rise of 5% in 2021 from the previous year, with the most sought-after disciplines seeing up to a 25% increase, according to YunoJuno.
Across the 30,000 bookings in 2021, freelancers in the UK earned an average rate of £368 per day. The average project length rose to 48 working days, while the top 10% band across all disciplines worked an average duration of 136 days per project in 2021.YunoJuno Rates Report
“Rising day rates and increasing project lengths show that hiring confidence bounced back strongly in 2021, after a dip at the start of the Covid pandemic,” said YunoJuno Founder and Executive Chairman, Shib Mathew.
Mathew said that hiring companies are increasingly looking to freelancers to fulfil senior positions.
“These results provide yet further support to our long-held belief that freelancing truly is the future of work as companies accelerate their shift towards a more agile workforce,” he said.
“The higher paid roles continue to show a pattern towards technology disciplines – such as UX and Data, which can encompass roles like Data Scientist and Data Engineer – that we believe will be in increasingly high demand as a growing number of companies digitise their offering and undertake significant transformation projects post-Covid.”Shib Mathew, Founder, YunoJuno
|Discipline||Average Day Rate (2021)||Average Contract Length|
|Client Service||£340||58 working days|
|Creatives||£377||15 working days|
|Data||£486||76 working days|
|Designers||£336||16 working days|
|Developers||£417||43 working days|
|Film and Motion||£370||9 working days|
|Market Research||£512||28 working days|
|Marketing||£318||60 working days|
|Photography||£362||10 working days|
|Public Relations||£326||56 working days|
|Project Management||£382||51 working days|
|QA/Testing||£425||49 working days|
|Social Media||£307||43 working days|
|Strategy||£492||37 working days|
|Studio||£281||14 working days|
|UX||£468||38 working days|