Freelancers reign over UK home workers

Freelance professionals who are self-employed and have no employees are officially the largest group of home working individuals in the UK.

This is the verdict of Point Topic, the broadband analysis firm, whose research shows half of all home workers in Britain are ‘one-man bands’ connecting to the internet.

The firm’s Broadband User Survey reveals that in total, 1.9 million people fit into the category of self-employed freelancers, working from home, with no employees.

This trend was highest in London and the South-East, with net-connected home workers most likely to be male aged between 24 and 54-years-old.

Men emerged as twice as likely as women to be working online, in a professional, managerial or technical capacity.

Including women, home-run SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and teleworkers – namely employees with their own premises, there are 5.4 million households with someone working from home.

Point Topic said the number falls slightly below the 3.1m households using the internet as a “working tool,” meaning 70 per cent of home workers are net-connected for their business.

Moreover, the BBUS reveals 1.6m teleworkers and 0.3m SMEs are working from home, ensuring that almost 20 per cent of all households have a professional inside building their career.

A closer look at the findings shows the highest take-up of home working in the UK is in the South-East, the South-West, London and the East of England. Home working was 30 per cent higher than the UK average in these regions.

Those in London emerged most likely as a male “family person,” who typically had more than one computer at home, and had been surfing online for four years. On average, ‘he’ has been using broadband for half that time.

Elsewhere in the UK, take-up emerged at its lowest in Wales, the North-West and Yorkshire, with only 55 per cent of the UK average in these regions as a whole.

Analysis by Supergroup – groups of local authorities which have similar characteristics – shows how the proportion of households involved in home working rises to 28 per cent in the 'London Suburbs' supergroup, with 'Prospering UK' and 'London Centre' categories showing 24 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

These groups were also more likely to use the internet for work than their non-home working counterparts in the same supergroup area.


5th September 2005

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