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Brexit Accelerating Boom in Demand for Independent Professionals, Odgers Connect Reveals

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SOURCE Odgers Connect

LONDON, February 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

A growing "professional gig economy" of highly-skilled, independent workers is flourishing in both the UK and Europe, driven by organisations cutting back on core staff and instead increasingly relying on outsourced professionals working for themselves.

The findings come in a pioneering study from Source Global Research published by Odgers Connect, the consulting arm of global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. Researchers interviewed senior executives across 250 UK and European organisations and found that changing attitudes to professional support are driving demand for independent workers.

The study notes that Brexit, and new regulation, are likely to favour independent consultants because organisations will seek the increased flexibility they offer and resist taking on permanent professional staff.  

The biggest impact, according to Source, is at the very top of the professional workplace. Looking at management consultancy bought by organisations in the UK in 2016 for example, Source estimates that independents supplied 20% of all consultancy bought by organisations, worth around £2 billion of the £9.75 billion total.

However, if this were translated to the wider market for professional services in the UK, valued by Source at around £215 billion in 2016, it would imply the UK professional "gig economy" - defined as project-based work - is already worth over £40 billion a year. This is an approximation, (as no firm data exists), but nonetheless gives a first indication of the size and value of the independent professional sector.

"An army of independent professionals and consultants is growing within both private and public-sector organisations," said Adam Gates, Principal of Odgers Connect. "Brexit is accelerating this trend due to the uncertainty it is creating. Companies need professional support to navigate through these uncertain times, without increasing costs and headcount -further encouraging them to bring in independent operators."  

Source conducted a survey of senior executives in over 250 large and mid-sized organisations, over half based in the UK and the rest in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Its key finding is that conditions are ripe for a boom in use of independent professionals, with high demand, a skilled talent pool and a trend towards more flexibility.

For further details or a full copy of the report, please visit

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