Chairman’s Update: Championing freelancers in construction
12th February 2016 | David Jackson
Promoting and increasing awareness of the enormous contribution the nation’s 4.6 million freelancers make to the UK economy is one of my passions. And now, in my role as Chair of the Construction Advisory Committee for The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), I am delighted to be able to do something practical to achieve my ambitions.
‘Unleashing the Self-Employed in the New Economy’ is the theme for IPSE’s April Policy Conference, where we will bring together politicians, business leaders and the UK’s self-employed workforce – IPSE’s members – to debate new ideas and suggestions about the proven links between the economic contribution of freelancers and a thriving economy.
It’s a chance to engage with Government, and help policymakers increase their understanding of the essential contribution made by the self-employed to a flexible labour market and discuss practical changes that could help freelancers drive economic growth still further.
The Conference is one in a series of events and publications that give Hudson Contract the opportunity to champion freelancers in the construction industry.
As an industry that can rarely plan ahead with certainty, we know to our cost that the ability to remain in command of a flexible workforce is often the difference between bankruptcy and success.
Construction freelancers represented in a report that’s on its way to Government
It’s an attitude that is shared by Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, who is on record as declaring, “Self-employment changed my life!”
Julie set up her phenomenally successful business on just £600 to pay for her children’s school fees. Last year, she was appointed by David Cameron to conduct an independent review of self-employment in the UK . . . and last month, I had the pleasure of contributing to her research.
Julie’s report, published over the weekend, highlights to the Government the challenges and opportunities faced by those who want to work for themselves. It is great to read that those who have chosen to become self-employed view their decision as a positive lifestyle choice, with reasons including job satisfaction, money and career development, however the greatest reasons for the move to self-employment was freedom, flexibility and independence.
The report makes ten recommendations ranging from greater education at a younger age and making advice and support as accessible as possible. In addition, it calls for the need for more flexible financial solutions for the growing army of self-employed. The report also suggests that benefits that are available to those starting or extending a family should be more equal. This is stemmed from a desire for equal treatment and recognition, however I feel that this can better be served by the policy makers recognising the contribution that Britain’s 4.6 million freelancers make and considering their needs when looking at the impact of policy changes.
The full report can be found here.
Further research into the value of freelance builders
In May, Professor Andrew Burke and I will update our publication Freelance Operatives in the Construction Industry.
Professor Burke is now Dean & Chair of Business Studies, Trinity Business School at Trinity College Dublin. He is also part of the Construction Advisory Committee and Chairman of Centre for Research on Self-Employment, which provides strategic direction and sets the agenda for future research into the role of freelancers.
As always, I will keep you updated with the outcomes of these and other, similar initiatives.
Our Partners - IPSE
The association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed
With over 21,000 members, IPSE, the association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, is the largest association of independent professionals in the EU, representing freelancers, contractors and consultants from every sector of the economy. It's a not-for-profit organisation owned and run by its members.
Flexibility in the labour market is crucial to Britain’s economic success, and IPSE dedicate their work to improving the landscape for the freelance way of working through an active and influential voice in government and industry.