A recent independent report has revealed that the number of freelance professionals in Europe has doubled in the last decade.

The study, conducted by one of Europe’s leading economists, Stephane Rapelli, shows that the number of ‘independent professionals’ in Europe has risen to over eight million in the last ten years, while employment rates have stagnated in the same period.

The countries with the highest numbers of contractors include the United Kingdom, with 1.6 million, and Germany with 1.5 million.

According to the report, it was found that the EU nations with the healthiest number of ‘independent professionals’ are also those that display the most resilience during times of economic hardship.

For example, nations that saw the most growth in freelancing, which was up an impressive 83 per cent across the EU in total, are also those generally accepted to be dealing better with the economic crisis:

The UK (+25%), Poland (+24%), France (+36%) and Germany (+16%) showed the largest increase, whereas numbers in Spain (-9%) and Italy (-1%) decreased over the same time period.

John Brazier, President of the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP) and Managing Director of PCG, said, “Having access to freelancers in an economy provides flexibility, value and minimises risk to businesses. This is important when times are good but when times are bad, these factors become the difference between success and failure.”

Anthea McIntyre MEP, Conservative Employment Spokesman added, “The fact that there is growth in freelancing despite tough economic conditions is encouraging for both the sector and for the European economy as a whole.

“The report not only provides evidence of growth, it also presents policy makers with crucial insight into the makeup of the sector, which is why I am delighted to host the launch at the European Parliament on the 16th October.”