The latest poll of self-employed workers shows there has been a marked improvement in confidence and earnings in 2018.
The latest quarterly Confidence Index conducted by freelancer body IPSE and PeoplePerHour has found that there has been a quarter-on-quarter rise in confidence and a 13% increase in earnings, after a difficult end to 2017.
Freelancer day rates fell in two consecutive quarters in the second half of 2017. Now freelancers are reporting that their rates have started to rise and 58% expect them to continue to rise over the next 12 months.
The findings also show that 34% of UK freelancers are now more confident in their business performance for the next 12 months, compared to 30% last quarter. The number of freelancers who are less confident in the wider economy has dropped from 70% at the end of 2017 to 61% in the first three months of 2018.
However, freelancer confidence - both in their own business performance and the wider economy - remains in negative figures says IPSE and has not recovered since a "drastic decline" after the Brexit vote.
Professor Andrew Burke, dean of Trinity Business School, Dublin, said: "The sector is still trying to recover the day rates and earnings it has lost since the referendum. On the positive side, the freelance sector has now pulled out of the recession of late 2017."
The Government needs to do more to support the self-employed, said Suneeta Johal, IPSE head of research. "Government policies now seem to be the biggest factor holding back the sector's tentative confidence ... From the threat that the disastrous changes to IR35 will be extended to the private sector to the call for evidence on shifting the VAT threshold, Government policy has created too much doubt and concern for freelancers at this already uncertain time."
Looking ahead, there are encouraging signs that freelancers will be in demand from employers, said Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and ceo of PeoplePerHour. He revealed that 57% of employers who use PPH expect to hire more freelancers than employees in the next five years.