At one stage, the mere utterance of the word ‘freelance’ was enough to make anybody look at you in absolute dismay and wonder if you had a professional death wish. However, the high risk factor that was once attached to this independent career path is beginning to subside and in fact, new research has shown that by 2020, half of the working population could be working under a freelance capacity.

In times gone by, being a freelancer meant eating cold beans out of a tin and working from your bedroom off a laptop that was draining your weekly electrical supply just to charge. However, freelance advertisement company PeoplePerHour freelance working on the increase(PPH) has noticed a drastic rise in the number of professionals opting to go down the freelance route and suggests that in five years’ time, 50% of the working population will be made up of freelancers.

Currently, the self-employment marketing is growing by 3.5% every year which is faster than any other study, according to the research carried out by PPH. This growth only has to continue at the same rate to ensure that by 2020, half of the UK’s workforce will be operating under freelance terms. This is great news for budding freelance professionals but also for small business owners who can use freelance expertise to their own cost-saving advantage.

The recent study found that on average, 1.9 hours every day were being wasted by each SME employee, which can be financially translated into more than £6,000 per year. Outsourcing to freelancers eliminates this economic wastage and means small businesses can afford to pump their wasted capital into more beneficial purposes.

PPH accredit the development to today’s advancements in technology. Experts at the company suggest that high-speed internet and the ever-expanding mobile industry has opened the door to a huge international customer supply that is increasing the demand for freelance professionals. PPH has also highlighted the emergence of a new generation of ‘hyper-specialists’ that is offering a whole host of niche services, also empowered by the opportunities made possible by modern technology.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder of PeoplePerHour, said: “The self-employed workforce is growing by the day and on-demand services are being required more and more.

“Speed and accessibility are today’s buzzwords and it’s no different when making recruitment decisions. It is literally a whole new economy in the making.”