Big Freelancer Survey 2023 logo
Big Freelancer Survey 2024 logo

Big Freelancer Survey 2024


Each year, The Big Freelancer Survey aims to provide detailed analysis of the past 12 months. The data feeds into ongoing lobbying of both industry bodies and government, informing them where support is most needed and what the greatest issues facing arts freelancers are.

arts freelancers have filled in The Big Freelancer Survey

billion Culture Recovery Fund secured in 2020 using data from The Big Freelancer Report 2020


pay-gap between arts freelancers and the national average wage


pay-gap between male and female arts freelancers

Our first survey (from 2020) was the largest survey of its kind and directly influenced the announcement of the CRF as well as the production of the Routes To Recovery report. 12 months later we published the first Big Freelancer Report, mapping the problems facing the freelance workforce with practical recommendations for change. 

Our second Big Freelancer Survey was entitled ‘Open to all, but not open all hours – Hopes and fears of the future of the UK’s entertainment industries‘ and was published in 2022 and used widely in the lobbying of industry bodies and government.

The Big Freelancer Survey has become an annual survey which provides a detailed report of the past 12 months.

Our 2023 report entitled ‘Underpaid, Undervalued, Under Pressure‘ is available to read now.

The Big Freelancer Survey is conducted by Freelancers Make Theatre Work in partnership with The University of Essex

The Big Freelancer Survey (BFS) team consists of Freelancers Make Theatre Work members of staff and volunteers; Josie Underwood, Alistair Cope, Mimi Doulton, and Paul Carey Jones. The team also included Melissa Tyler, co-director of the Future of Creative Work group in the Centre for Work, Organization and Society at the University of Essex. The aim of the survey is to provide an evidence base for FMTW’s work in lobbying for a fair and sustainable future for freelance workers across the UK’s theatre and entertainment industries. 1156 freelancers took part in BFS3, which included a mix of pre-coded and free text questions. The survey was designed and analysed by the survey team, in consultation and collaboration with the wider FMTW community

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