The number of mothers in the UK who are working on self-employed or freelance terms has increased by 24% over the past two years, according to new research by think tank Demos, the Guardian reported this week. The study shows that one of the reasons for this growth is a desire for more flexible working hours.
According to Demos, the results should provide a strong signal to employers that many parents are prepared to opt out of the 9-to-5 in favour of a career as a freelancer if companies fail to offer flexibility that allows them to manage their family life.
Freelancing can provide better working conditions for parents wanting to spend more time with their children, according to Demos research director Duncan O'Leary. He believes that many traditional workplaces are unable to offer such a degree of freedom.
69% of women stated that flexibility of work-life balance is very important to them
Among the surveyed group, 69% of women stated that flexibility of work-life balance is very important to them. In comparison, only 55% of men said the same. Moreover, women are more likely to choose freelancing because they can control their working hours. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to see money as a key motivating factor.
Demos's study was commissioned by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG). It is a part of a long-term project aiming to assess the ability of government and businesses to address the growing numbers of self-employed individuals. The poll comes after a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed that the number of female contractors increased by 11.9% in February to April, compared to a year earlier.
O'Leary predicts that freelancers will surpass the number of people employed in the public sector in the near future. And he argued that, since the group of self-employed individuals is growing, politicians should reconsider their priorities at the upcoming general election which is less than 12 months away.