Around a fifth of adults in the UK are currently actively building a ‘side hustle’ business.

This includes more than a third of young people aged 18-35, suggesting the days of traditional full-time employment may be over.

New research from Opinium, commissioned by the online freelancer platform UnderPinned, also found that that almost a third of people currently working for themselves made the decision to jump from full-time employment during the pandemic.

ONS statistics also demonstrate similar findings, which show the number of self-employed people in the UK has risen by 48,000 since just February – with self-employed people now making up 15 percent of the UK’s workforce.

 

Differences across the UK

The polling of 2,000 adults from right across the country also demonstrates that some parts of the UK have turned more sharply to entrepreneurialism during the pandemic.

While nationally, 29 percent of current freelancers left full-time employment during the pandemic, in the West Midlands a huge 58 percent of current freelancers made the jump in the last two years, as did 46 percent of freelancers in the North East and 51 percent in the South East.

Also, half of freelancers said they had made the decision because they want greater flexibility when it comes to their working hours and days, with half also professing the desire to be their own boss.

Albert Azis-Clauson, CEO of UnderPinned, said: “This research reveals the huge impact the pandemic has had on the way people want to work, with these steep trends – particularly in some areas of the UK and amongst some demographics – suggesting the days of traditional full-time employment may be numbered.

“The sudden changes the pandemic caused for employers and employees alike showed people that they can work for themselves and be their own boss, by marketing their skills remotely right across the country or indeed around the world.

“Ministers and CEOs can tell people they should get back to the office all they like, but they cannot stop this train. The flexibility people want and deserve is possible, and rather than pushing back on these changes to the world of work, businesses should adapt. Freelance and independent workers can bring huge benefits to businesses across all sectors, if they’ll let them.”