Yesterday, the FTSE 100 logged its best session in three weeks while Wall Street hit record highs as markets continued to ride a wave of vaccine optimism. The blue-chip bourse closed up 1.9 per cent, while the FTSE 250 midcap index rose by 2.6 per cent.
Despite a modest opening of the stock exchange this morning, the global markets still appear stronger than earlier in the year. In fact, the index of leading UK company shares has risen in value by more than £180bn, or 12.4%, in November, the strongest monthly performance since January 1989 when the market gained by 14.4%. These figures have given a boost to various parts of the economy, but one not-so widely recognised sector that has benefited from the vaccine optimism is the consultancy, self-employed and freelance space.
The latest national research from The Future Strategy Club (FSC) across 2,076 respondents found that a third - 34% - of Brits say the COVID pandemic has encouraged them to look towards consultancy and freelance work or start their own business. This chimes with research from SHL that shows that an additional 59.358 new companies were created in the UK between June and August compared to the same period in 2019. There were nearly 25,000 more new businesses created in June 2020 than in 2019. This meant that business growth in the UK was up by a staggering 47% year-on-year.
Justin Small, CEO and Founder of The Future Strategy Club - an umbrella agency that supports new consultants - commented on the latest reports of a new vaccine:
"This year has been one of the most difficult on record for both employees and the self-employed and despite government support, many have found themselves at a crossroad in their careers. Coronavirus has presented a number of opportunities for highly-skilled people to enter the market on their own and work strategically, fulfilling their own professional and personal goals in the process. Economic shocks such as COVID can do this, and the FSC's research showing that a third of Brits have considered this means that people are considering it as a viable option.
This vaccine announcement will undoubtedly help restore confidence in the economy and in businesses as we look ahead to 2021. This means that freelancers, consultants, and the self-employed, can now begin planning for a year vastly different to the one we are leaving behind. This confidence will allow people to be bolder in their next career move, help business leaders define budgets for the next year, and open the market back up as we look ahead towards a post-COVID economy."