According to a report issued by the Office of National Statistics in August, with 4.6 million workers, self-employment in 2014 was the highest recorded in 40 years, which is as far back as records go. With the increase expected to continue, why is it that self-employment has become so popular?
Well the report suggests that it is not in fact a case of self-employment becoming more popular, but self-employed workers remaining self-employed for longer. The ONS reports that the percentage of people entering the self-employed workforce has remained fairly constant at 36-38% whereas the percentage of people leaving self-employment has dropped from 32-37% down to 23% in just the last five years. The largest increase has been in the management sector and since 2009, the number of self-employed aged 65 and over has doubled. Permanent employees working past pension age has also increased.
The ONS suggests that coupled with the self-employed continuing into older age, the reason behind the decrease in people leaving self-employment may be due to a lack of employment opportunities during the recession, forcing many to remain self-employed, although the reasoning for leaving or not leaving was not asked.
On the downside, average income of the self-employed has fallen by 22% with 35% working 45+ hours a week. Although the ONS do not speculate as to the reason, perhaps this is due to the increased competition of so many now in the self-employed workforce.
With so many people operating as self-employed, the market for contracts is likely to become more competitive, so now is the time to brush up on your skills, perfect your business profile and engage in marketing strategies to ensure you are not left at the bottom of the pile.
You can read the full report here.
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