Contracting careers: some mothers do ‘ave ‘em

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UK mums are increasingly turning to contracting as a way to achieve a healthy work/life balance, new research has revealed.

A study by Kingston University and the association for Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) finds that the number of mothers who have ditched permanent employment has increased by almost 60% since 2008. The trend could perhaps be explained by a desire to juggle personal and professional responsibilities – something that contracting enables perfectly.

Women have led the freelancing charge over the past five years. The report found that the proportion of females choosing to take up a contracting career has jumped by 41.2% – compared to 30.5% for men.

IPSE revealed that there are now 1.88 million contractors in the UK, a rise of 35.1% since 2008. There has also been a marked increase in the number of young people (16-19 year-olds) and those aged over 60 – a surge of 26% and 47% respectively.

Suneeta Johal, IPSE’s head of research, education and training, said: “This research adds to the mounting evidence of a structural, rather than cyclical, change to the labour market. Breaking down the sectoral figures sheds light on how this growth has been achieved. Information technology & communications has seen a 71% increase in numbers, while health and the art & literacy sectors have both seen an almost 100% increase.

“In addition, there has been a big increase in the number of freelance mothers. This shows that the flexibility offered by independent working is becoming more and more attractive.”

Have your say

Are you a mum who has embraced contracting? Why did you decide to make the leap? Would you recommend freelancing to other mothers? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.