Self-employment rising

Trends in self-employment in the UK: 2001 to 2015 – ONS

The level of self-employment in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015.

The recent rise in self-employment is the extension of a trend started in the early 2000s

Part time self-employment grew by 88% between 2001 and 2015, compared to 25% for the full-time mode.

In general, self-employed workers are broadly content with their labour market status

Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years

Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014: ONS

  • Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years
  • Rise in total employment since 2008 predominantly among the self-employed
  • Rise predominately down to fewer people leaving self-employment than in the past
  • The number of over 65s who are self-employed has more than doubled in the past 5 years to reach nearly half a million
  • Self-employed workers tend to be older than employees and are more likely to work higher (over 45) or lower (8 or less) hours
  • The number of women in self-employment is increasing at a faster rate than the number of men (although men still dominate self employment)
  • The most common roles are working in construction and taxi driving and in recent years there have been increases in management consultants
  • Average income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09
  • Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self-employment since 2009

UK becoming the ‘self-employment capital’ of Western Europe

Job growth in UK fuelled by fastest growth of self-employment in Europe

  • Growth in self-employment in the UK has been the fastest of all Western European countries over the last year, with the proportion of workers who are self-employed rising by almost a whole percentage point.
  • The UK had internationally low levels of self-employment for many years but has caught up with the EU average
  • Self-employment has proven to be a key driver of overall job creation, with the working-age employment rate reaching historically high levels.

‘Odd jobbing’ self-employment may be masking signs of trouble

CPID’s response to unemployment figures

  • Analysis of the official statistics finds a sharp rise in self-employment more than accounting for the small fall in unemployment
  • Previous analysis from the CIPD found that the recent rise was less a sign of a resurgent enterprise culture and more evidence of a growing army of part-time ‘odd jobbers’ desperate to avoid unemployment
  • Unemployment will edge up again over the course of the summer