Nearly half of the freelancers who participated in a Shout99 poll are 'out of contract' - and 17 per cent of them have been without work for more than 12 months.
The results are from an online survey (http://www.shout99.com) carried out in August/September 2003 of nearly 700 members of Shout99, the UK's largest freelancer network.
The poll asked: Are you in or out of a contract? If so, how long? Have you been continuously:
..working on a contract for more than 12 months - 37 per cent (255 replies);
..working on a contract for less than 12 months - 21 per cent (143);
..out of contract for less than three months - 6 per cent (45);
..out of contract for 3-6 months - 9 per cent (59);
..out of contract for 6-12 months - 11 per cent (73);
..out of contract for more than a year - 17 per cent (118).
Editor of Shout99, Susie Hughes, said: "These findings are consistent with other surveys in the past which have revealed that between a quarter and a half of freelancers are out of contract.
"However, it is possibly the first time that it has shown that for many freelancers the time spent without work can be years rather than months.
"Anecdotal evidence has suggested that many of these freelancers turn their backs on contracting, sometimes starting unrelated businesses, while their technical skills are lost to the UK economy for good.
"This coincides with repeated claims that the UK needs more highly-qualified, technically proficient, flexible workers - and at a time when the Government is introducing various initiatives to encourage people to start their own businesses."
For more information see: http://www.shout99.com
Susie Hughes, 07703 486276
Notes to Editors:
1. Shout99.com is the UK's largest network of freelancers. It operates through its inter-active website, http://www.shout99.com and provides news, information, products and services to its freelancing network of nearly 40,000. It is free to join and access the information.
2. Freelancers operate their own small businesses in the knowledge-based economy in a range of industrial sectors, including IT, engineering, management consultancies and many other areas.
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