Ever since the referendum in 2016 there has been nonstop speculation about what Britain’s exit from the EU will mean for business. New figures released by the UK’s leading freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour (PPH), have revealed that despite the increasing uncertainty over whether ‘Brexit’ will actually happen, skilled UK freelancers are already experiencing a reduction in sales from EU countries.
While sales from UK freelancers to non-EU countries, such as Pakistan (up 55.97%), the Russian Federation (up 44.53%), Panama (up 141.67%) and Bahrain (up 93.33%) have increased as the PPH freelancing platform has grown, relations with EU employers have cooled. Almost across the board, sales to EU member states have dropped off. In some cases, by as much as 67%.
The most notable reduction in UK freelancing sales between 2017-2018:
- Despite steady growth between 2014 and 2017, sales between the UK and Poland dropped by 45.79% in the 12 months from 2017.
- UK sales from Denmark fell by 51.74%.
- UK freelancer commissions reduced by 46.20% in Austria.
- Swedish businesses used UK freelancers 41.46% less than in previous years.
- UK freelancer sales to Latvia reduced by an enormous 67.35%
- Even sales to the UK’s nearest neighbour, Ireland, fell by 13.62%
- Sales from other EU member states, including Norway, Cyprus, Belgium, Greece, France, Italy and Spain also reduced between 4 and 21%.
Freelancers have been frustrated by the progress government has made, in a recent survey of 1350 freelancers carried out by PeoplePerHour, 31% of freelancers would like to revoke Article 50 while 26% would like a second referendum.
41% said they have already seen a negative impact on their business from Brexit and 3.91% are not satisfied with how the UK government has handled Brexit so far.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour said, “Since the very beginning of the Brexit negotiations there have been concerns that business might suffer as a result of Britain parting from the EU. But the current set of figures are no less troubling despite being expected.
“There is still a small question over whether or not Brexit is going to happen, but businesses across the EU have begun preparing for a change in practices. While British freelance professionals continue to be highly regarded, as EU companies find themselves looking for new talent, many are now turning to experts from within the EU simply because they’re unsure about the potential for future red tape when collaborating with UK freelancers.
“What makes these figures particularly worrying is that they’re only the beginning. The indication is that once Britain formally leaves the EU, more businesses will look elsewhere for their outsourced work. This isn’t just worrying news for the 33% of UK adults who are self-employed, but for the whole of the British economy.”