Freelancers are 35% more likely than firms to combine diverse skills and knowledge sets in their work, according to a recent report from research and development project, Brighton Fuse.

The report established three categories – unfused, fused, and superfused – to determine the level of skills diversity.

The findings showed that 46.7% of freelancers were superfused, in that combining skillsets was integral to their work. In comparison, only 34.7% of firms identified as being “superfused.”

Freelancers earned more money depending on the diversity of their skills, with “superfused” freelancers earning 27% more on average than their “unfused” peers.

There was also a strong correlation of growth, with fused freelancers growing at a rate of 10.5%, compared to just 8.8% for unfused freelancers.

Surprisingly, superfused freelancers only grew at a rate of 4.8%. The report suggested this could be because not many individuals are exceptionally good at lots of things, meaning superfused freelancers might be seen by clients as “Jacks and Jills of all trades.”

In comparison, firms that offer a superfused service grow at a rate of 20.8%, compared to 7% that were unfused, showing that offering a wide variety of skills works well when the workload can be spread.

Brighton Fuse

Brighton Fuse is funded jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Universities of Brighton and Sussex and Wired Sussex, a digital sector business group.

The broad focus of the project is to support the development of policies which see real value in connecting cultural and creative endeavour with technological activity, and which foster the self-employed economy.

Phil Jones, managing director or Wired Sussex, said:

“I want to see much greater recognition of the role of freelancers in supporting the generation of economic value. Policy assumes freelancing is a second rate choice. It’s not. Not only are they active, positive individuals, but their existence and expertise is central to the ability of businesses to be able to grow and flex.”

You can read the full report and policy recommendations here.

Images via Tim Simpson and Puree Design