The best-paid jobs you can do from home

Emma Woollacott
Woman working at home
Woman working at home

Working from home is the dream for many people tied to a dreary commute, problems with childcare and irritating colleagues. And, according to official figures, at least, it's a dream that's becoming reality for more people than ever before.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), self-employment has reached a record high in the UK, accounting for more than 15% of the workforce, and more than half of recent jobs growth nationwide. Of these people, around 4.2 million work from home, a rise of nearly a third since 1998.

However, the fact is that many of these people are making peanuts. Companies are increasingly getting rid of full-time workers in favour of freelancers, often on zero-hours contracts, who either earn little per hour or can't find enough hours' work per week. The ONS figures show that average income from self-employment in the UK has fallen by a worrying 22% since 2008-09, compared with an 8% drop for the average employee.

In other words, self-employment isn't always all it's cracked up to be. According to the Resolution Foundation, half of Britain's self-employed people earn £12,00 a year or less, barely above the minimum wage.

As TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady points out: "The latest assessment of earnings from self-employment is £207 a week, less than half that of employees. They also don't receive any sick or holiday pay, nor do they have an employer contribute towards their pension."

However, there's no need to give up hope and resign yourself to being a wage slave for the rest of your life. Figures from freelance employment website Elance-oDesk show that there are plenty of jobs you can do from home that pay very good money indeed.

Many of these fall under the IT heading. Across Europe, says the company, 59% of freelancers' earnings are drawn from the IT world, with 24% coming from the creative industries and 7% each from marketing and operations work. UK freelancers are getting the fourth-biggest share of this, after Ukraine, Russia and Romania.

So if you want to be able to work in your pyjamas and still pull in a decent wage, which line of work should you be in?

1 Voice talent
There's a lot more to this type of work than playing one of the Simpsons. From Susan Bennett, the woman behind Apple's Siri, down to people working on in-house training videos, there's a large corporate market out there, with many voiceover artists working from their own studio at home and submitting files electronically, earning an average of £68 per hour.

2 Infographic design
You see them everywhere: online, on posters, in company reports. Infographics are a way of presenting complex data in a simple visual form. And it's a highly sought-after skill, with those that can do it well attracting the second-highest home-working pay at £45 per hour.

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Self-Employment is Booming in the United Kingdom
Self-Employment is Booming in the United Kingdom

3 Finance writing
This certainly isn't one for the amateur - it requires real expert knowledge. But for those with the skills, carrying out analysis and producing reports for publications and companies can attract rates of £38 per hour.

4 Contract drafting
Another specialist one, this time for those with legal qualifications and experience. Drafting contracts for businesses lends itself well to being outsourced to freelancers, with pay of around £35 per hour.

5 Recruitment
Ironically, perhaps, many companies hand over the job of recruiting new permanent staff to freelancers. Headhunting, selecting and appointing candidates pays around £33 per hour.

6 Financial forecasting
In a similar manner to financial writing, businesses often use freelancers to predict financial turnover, looking at accounting and sales data along with external market and economic trends. It pays around £27 per hour.

7 Electronics engineers
As we've seen, IT accounts for a huge amount of freelance work. Electronics engineers, who design electronic circuits, devices and systems, are some of the best-paid workers in this field, earning around £26 per hour.

8 Translation
Thanks to globalisation, translation is a booming industry. Spanish-to-English is currently the most lucrative branch, attracting pay of around £25 per hour.

9 CV writing
The more competitive the jobs market, the more a good CV matters - and job-hunters are willing to pay. Those people that can produce a really enticing, professional example can make about £24 per hour.

10 Pay per click
Pay per click experts manage search marketing campaigns aimed at directing traffic to websites of all types, which then get paid each time an advertisement is clicked. The work pays around £24 per hour.

Read more about freelancing on AOL Money:

Finding freelance work online

How to start a freelance career

10 internet business ideas to help you make money on the side