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Contracting: An attractive option for working mothers

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:11am | by Guest Author

Freelance contracting offers a flexible approach to working for many professionals. Becoming your own boss can help to offer a more attractive work-life balance through better hours and the ability to choose where and when to work.

Due to these attractive options, more and more mothers are taking to contracting to provide for their families while still maintaining a healthy home life.

It’s no surprise then that mothers in work is at a high with the contracting profession contributing to the rise.

A recent Office for National Statistics report has revealed that 67 per cent of work age women in the UK are now employed. The rise is partially due to an increased amount of mothers seeking employment. The statistics show that 72 per cent of women with dependent children are now in work compared with 67 per cent in 1996.

Figures from a separate ONS study found that the amount of self-employed women in the UK numbered at around £1.26 million.

Single mothers in employment is also up from 43 per cent to 60 per cent. Contracting has helped to contribute to this significant increase as it offers mother more options while raising their children.

A recent report commissioned by Professional Contractors Group (PCG) has shown that the number of mother entering into freelancing was around 210,000 in 2011. This means that mothers account for 13 per cent of contractors operating in the UK. Women in total accounted for 38 per cent of the sector.

Since 2008, mothers choosing contracting as a profession has risen by 25 per cent. This figure is double the total rate of increase for freelancing as a whole.

Speaking about the benefits of contracting for mothers, PCG chairman Julie Stewart, said: “Freelancing allows mothers, and fathers for that matter, the flexibility to spend time with family while continuing to operate professionally.”

Ms Stewart also said that the career path could offer some mothers the opportunity to balance work and family life.

For working mothers child-care and education costs can be major concerns. Mothers with small children who work full time may need to use child-care facilities at one point or another. As contractors generally enjoy a larger gross salary than full-time employees, the extra money can help alleviate financial pressure in these areas.

Another aspect of contracting that could potentially benefit mothers is the opportunity to take extended breaks from work. Many freelancers work for the majority of the year followed by a couple of months off allowing for family holidays and other activities.

This flexibility extends to general work hours which mothers can use to adapt work around family life. For this reason PCG’s survey generally found that women freelancers who were mothers were much happier in the role than their male counterparts.

Some contractors are able to work from home which can benefit those with young families.

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