More and more people in the UK are taking on temporary job positions this year, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics. Between January and March the number of contractors reached 1.6 million, translating into a 2.9% rise over the same three-month period last year.
Gender-wise, the proportion of male contractors increased by 4.3% to 747,000 in the quarter. The trend for women was positive, too: female contractors reached 851,000, an increase of 1.7%.
Statistics for temporary workers using agencies also showed an increase, going up up by 8% to 316,000 jobs. This was the highest number of people taking up a job via an agency in the last six quarters and the sole category to see more male temporary workers than female ones: men accounted for 181,000 of the total, while women numbered 136,000, up by 6.4% and 10.1%, respectively.
Fixed-period contracts, meanwhile, showed a marginal decline of 0.3% to 851,000.
The number of workers who decide to be their own bosses is increasing, PCG economist Georgios Nikolaidis commented. He said he was glad to see that so many people are keen on starting their own businesses. Contracting is "the future of work," Nikolaidis added.
The economist highlighted the fact that there was a 38% increase in the number of freelancers aged under 30 years. Moreover, the number of mothers working freelance has gone up by 25%. Nikolaidis commented that those groups are not traditionally associated with self-employment and it is encouraging to see perceptions changing. Similar determination is evident throughout the whole workforce, which can only contribute to the positive outlook for the economy, Nikolaidis concluded.