Freelance consultants up 6.3% since the credit crunch

The number of people working as self-employed consultants in the UK has grown by 6.3 per cent since the credit crunch, trumping a mere 2 per cent rise in overall employment, according to Von Essen.

Releasing this analysis, the firm said it proved that more people have opted to become consultants at the same time that what such freelancers offer -- expert skills that can be taken on and let go at short notice -- grew as a requirement.

As well as it outstripping overall employment, the growth in self-employed consulting in the UK is in stark contrast to Europe’s 15 leading economies, where there has been an average narrowing of 3.2 per cent in the freelance ranks.

But the highest-earning of those economies have generally turned towards independent consultants -- the Benelux countries, for example, have seen self-employment rise by 42 per cent between 2009 and 2013.

By contrast, the EU countries that faced a sovereign debt crisis and high unemployment after the credit crunch (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) have seen a decline in consultants working in their countries, with an average decrease of 12 per cent.

“On the whole, northern European countries are typically bigger users of self-employed consultants,” reflected Von Essen partner Lydia Marref.

“They are also the countries that have tended to weather the Eurozone crisis best, and while that’s not just because they have large populations of consultants, it definitely helps.”

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