Contractor, or ‘iPro’, growth experienced across Europe

27 - 11 - 2013

The EU has experienced an increase in independent professionals, or ‘iPros’, commonly referred to as freelancers or contractors, according to the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP).

The EFIP’s report ‘Future Working: The Rise of Europe’s Independent Professionals (iPros)’, which was carried out by Professor Patricia Leighton from the University of Glamorgan, found that there are now almost 9 million independent workers in Europe compared to 6.2 million in 2004.

Growth was consistent across the EU, but the Netherlands, Poland and France experienced a particularly sharp rise.
The UK saw an above average increase (63 per cent) in iPros between 2004 and 2013.

The report defined iPros as ‘highly skilled self-employed individuals who work for themselves but do not employ others’.
According to the report, independent professionals constitute 25 per cent of the professional, scientific and technical workforce and 22 per cent of those working in the arts and entertainment industry. Ipros can be found in a wide variety of sectors, however, ranging from journalism and design to ICT and consultancy.

‘A new and exciting radical agenda’

The research revealed that there is a major shift in the way work is being carried out – a shift from having a job to working for clients.
‘A new and exciting radical agenda based on collaboration rather than competition has emerged as a response to perceived failures in existing business and management strategies,’ the report reads.

The study found that iPros find the way they work fulfilling. Many who choose this route have rejected traditional employment as they feel it requires conformity and represses creativity.

The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at policy makers, professional bodies, clients of iPros and iPros themselves relating to awareness, recognition and the contribution of iPro working, finding a voice for iPros, training and development and providing support for iPros.

Recommendations include ensuring there is an emphasis on work creation in publicly funded schemes to support the creation of jobs so that iPros are not excluded or disadvantaged and recognising that iPro working is a legitimate and realistic career option and to encourage this way of working through funding.
Fastest growing sector’

Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) said: ‘This report proves conclusively that freelancing is the fastest growing sector of the European labour market.

‘The importance of recognising this important, powerful and expanding group and the huge contributions they make to economies across Europe cannot be overstated. Considering how vital this sector is becoming, it is crucial for decision-makers to take on board the recommendations from this report.

‘The way we work is changing and unless policy, legislation and business practices change with it, we risk clipping the wings of the very sector of our workforce best placed to create growth and prosperity for our collective economy.’






Foremans LLP Umberlla
Foremans LLP