Employee Engagement

Freelancing has become a popular path for many in their careers, enabling them to be more flexible with their work and personal life, whereas many see the world of freelancing as the great unknown and a scary place to be. But just how profitable are some of the freelance careers we see these days, and just how desirable do people find them?

With the number of freelancers on the up from 3.3million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, according to the Office Of National Statistics, it’s clear to see the perception of job insecurity in freelancing has faded away, with more people finding the idea of the flexibility it brings more appealing. As well as this, there has been significant press around the ‘gig economy’, with it being revealed that currently, 2.8 million people in the UK are selling their labour through apps according to the Online Labour Index. 

With this in mind, Protectivity Insurance has analysed just how profitable some of these freelance careers are, and furthermore, how desirable they are to the everyday person.

Whilst it may not come as a surprise that the likes of a freelance career as a Lawyer, Investment Consultant and an Architect, with an average salary between £57,000 and £42,000 per annum, came out in the top five most profitable, there were also some less obvious results that interesting came within the top ten; a music teacher, yoga instructor and interior designer all made their way in, earning between £37,000 to £40,000 per annum.

When it comes to the desirability of the careers, 68% consider a photographer to be a desirable career with a Musician closely behind on 64%. Interestingly, in a generation and time that is so focussed on social media and digital platforms, the careers that came out at the bottom were Bloggers and Social Media Marketer’s with only 38% believing these to be desirable. Similarly, although becoming a Yoga Instructor proved itself to be a profitable career to embark upon, many did not believe this path to be a desirable one with only a 41% vote.

For the animal lovers among us it will also come as no surprise that both Pet Sitting and Dog Walking made it into the top 20 of the most desirable freelance careers, because who can resist looking after some love-able animals for a living!

The top ten most profitable freelance careers are:

Rank Career Average annual salary per annum (£)
1 Lawyer 57,293
2 Investment Consultant 50,000
3 Software Developer 42,500
4 Architect 42,500
5 Music Teacher 40,860
6 Business Consultant 38,256
7 Yoga Instructor 37,546
8 Accountant 37,500
9 Interior Design 37,500
10 Web Designer 37,500

The top ten most desirable freelance careers are:

Rank Career Desirability in %
1 Photographer 68.43%
2 Musician 63.74%
3 Architect 62.54%
4 Actor 62.44%
5 Online Researcher 60.24%
6 Lawyer 60.14%
7 Interior Designer 59.74%
8 Web designer 59.24%
9 Graphic Designer 58.64%
10 Landscaper 57.54%

Our research also included a breakdown of the careers respondents were currently in and which alternative careers they found the most and least desirable, you can find the findings here:

Sector Currently Working In Most Desirable Career Most Undesirable Career
Architecture, Engineering and Building Online Research 46.2% Stylist 57.7%
Arts & Culture Musician 60% Caterer 50%
Education Photographer 57.1% Recruiter 39.3%
Finance Musician 53.5% Yoga Instructor 48.8%
Healthcare Journalist 48.5% Investment Consultant 44.1%
HR Programmer/Software Developer, Life Coach & Data Analyst 60% Stylist 80%
It & Telecoms Business Consultant 62.5% Social Media Marketer 37.5%
Legal Landscaper or Gardener 66.7% Event Planner 46.7%
Manufacturing & Utilities Copywriter 49.2% Life Coach & Stylist 44.6%
Retail, Catering and Leisure Interior Designer 52.1% Blogger & Copywriter 44.8%
Sales, Media and Marketing Nanny/Babysitter, Web Designer & Caterer 48.6% Marketing Consultant and Tour Guide 45.7%
Travel and Transport IT Trainer and Data Analyst 60% Copywriter and Caterer 50%

The most desirable and undesirable careers can also be seen below according to cities in the UK:

City Most Desirable Career Most Undesirable Career
Belfast Photographer (50%) Blogger (56.7%)
Birmingham Online Researcher (48.4%) Horse Trainer (41.9%)
Brighton Interpreter/Translator (52.1%) Life Coach (42.9%)
Bristol Dog Walker (50%) Copywriter (50%)
Cardiff Pet Sitter (53.8%) Nanny/Babysitter (46.2%)
Edinburgh Tour Guide (64.5)       Social Media Marketer (61.3%)
Glasgow Music Teacher (45.7%) Personal Trainer (54.2%)
Leeds Data Analyst (51.1%) Yoga Instructor (48.7)
Liverpool Photographer (51.3%) Carer or Recruiter (41%)
London Architect (44.8%) Caterer (36.75)
Manchester Online Researcher (53.2%) Stylist (51.9%)
Newcastle Actor (56.5%) Social Media Marketer (52.2%)
Norwich Dancer (56.5%) Blogger (50%)
Nottingham Business Consultant (45.3%) Social Media Marketer (50.9%)
Plymouth Landscaper or Gardener (63%) Nanny/Babysitter (44.4%)
Sheffield Landscaper or Gardener (46.8%) Housekeeper (40.4%)
Southampton Tour Guide (59.2%) Housekeeper (51%)

Sean Walsh, Marketing Manager from Protectivity Insurance comments:

“Joining the world of ‘freelancing’ can be a scary prospect at first to some, but has worrying about job security become a thing of the past, with more people getting involved with the ‘gig economy’ and taking on more freelance work than ever before?”

“There is often a negative connotation associated with freelancers when it comes to both job security and a regular income, but it’s great to see such a variation of careers making it into the most profitable and desirable. Hopefully this research shows some interesting results that prove you can get out there on your own and make the jump into the freelancing world.”

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