It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the world of work, and one of its many ramifications has been the impact on freelancers. To dig a little deeper, we asked over 180 people from our network a series of questions on LinkedIn to uncover how exactly the last two years have impacted freelance recruitment in the UK.

A key finding was that sourcing local talent was no longer a priority for employers and they would generally favour less expensive talent from outside their region. Similarly, our poll also found that freelancers generally don’t consider physical location important – with many freelancers favouring companies in the city to land higher salaries.

Another issue our poll highlighted was that negotiating pay as a freelancer in the digital space can be a difficult process to navigate, so to lend a helping hand, we’ve rounded up our top tips for getting it right.

Create a Boundary and Stick to it

After you’ve been approached by a client for some work, the next stage is to negotiate your pay rate – and the best way to start is to create a boundary and to stick to it. A good idea is to research rates in the area your potential employer operates in and balance this with the living costs of where you live. Generally, employers will expect to pay a higher rate if you live in London, but as our polls highlight, relying on purely location as a marker won’t suffice. You need to possess the skills to back it up so be clear on the value you can bring to the company too.

Should you find your boundary tested or you feel tempted to ask for more, remind yourself why you set your boundary to begin with, and consider your desired outcome when negotiating.

My main advice for negotiated rates is to set the expectation early, and don’t shift the goalposts without clear and understandable reasons. Stating you want £400 when you apply and then £500 at the offer stage without justification is likely going to leave a very sour taste, and potentially waste everyone’s time.” – Toby, Futureheads Consultant


Know Your Value

As with any candidate in the hiring process, it is highly important to be clear on what value you can add to a specific company. The better you research the company and consider how your skill-set and previous experience lends itself to the potential role, the higher likelihood you will get a pay rate that reflects this.

Really consider the story you’re telling, the direction of your career journey, how have you gone from the first point in your career to where you are now, and what does that look like in terms of progression? It doesn’t have to be from a Senior to a Lead, you could have moved to gain skills. Just consider your own journey when relaying it.” – Ebonie, Futureheads Consultant


Let the Company Make the First Offer

This may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many candidates make an offer first. Instead, by allowing the employers to make the initial offer, you can consider whether your expectations were too high, or low. This will let you know right away whether or not you need to negotiate for a higher rate, and if your desired rate is realistic.

Don’t Shy Away from Negotiating

Despite this, it’s not uncommon to receive an offer with a lower day-rate than expected, so if this does happen, respectfully make it clear that the offer doesn’t reflect your value to the company (with examples to back it up!). From here you can make your pitch for your pay expectation and why you’re willing to stand by it. Negotiating is an important part of the hiring process, and always worth taking a shot at.

Remember to begin negotiating by asking for more than what you’re after too. This way, when the prospective employer pushes back, there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll land on or close to your desired day rate.

If you’re a freelancer looking for work in Tech and Digital, why not find out why Futureheads are award winning recruiters?

Contact us or email the team at


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