The latest figures which have been released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the rate of self employment in the UK is continuing to grow year-on-year.
Since 2008, the number of freelancers or self-employed workers has risen by an impressive 700,000 and now stands at 4.5 million. Furthermore, in the period from September to November 2015, 98,000 more people became self-employed compared to the same three-month period in 2014.
These figures mean that one in seven people who are in employment in the UK now work for themselves. Interestingly, the rise has been particularly noticeable amongst women who are keen to juggle having a family with maintaining their career.
The data also shows that older workers are more likely to be self-employed than younger workers are and that there has been a rise in the number of over-65s becoming ‘silver entrepreneurs’. This is possibly because those in the older age bracket have accumulated more knowledge and experience and therefore feel more confident starting their own business.
Whilst the number of women and over-65s becoming self-employed has increased over the years, the number of men doing freelance work or working for themselves has remained mainly unchanged.
Improvements in computer technology have also no doubt contributed to the rise in the number of people choosing to be self-employed because it has made it easier than ever for the average person to run their own business.
Internet entrepreneurs for example can sell their goods online instead of in traditional bricks and mortar stores. Because there’s no rent, no bills and no need to hire staff, this dramatically cuts costs which means that people don’t have to save up for years just to get a business up and running.
Another huge benefit of being self-employed is that people get to focus on the things they’re truly passionate about. When working for a company, you often end up getting involved with things which aren’t your area of expertise whereas this is unlikely to happen when you’re self-employed.
Many people also enjoy the flexibility of working for themselves and the freedom of being their own boss. The self-employed can choose their working hours, the clients they work with, how they market their business and they don’t have to wait for holiday requests to be approved either.
Economic Policy Advisor for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), Lorence Nye commented:
“The self-employed are now a key part of the UK economy. Their flexibility provides us with a unique characteristic that has powered the UK through the financial crisis and may be the one thing that shelters the country from the potential global economic storm appearing on the horizon. We hope the government will continue to implement tailored policies to help this essential sector flourish to allow for the UK to retain its competitive edge.”
If you would like more information about self-employment or how to set up a new business, please feel free to contact Windsor Accountancy and we will be more than happy to help.