For British workers, there has never been a better time to consider becoming self-employed. With record numbers of people choosing to work for themselves, self-employment in the UK is experiencing a boom.
Research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms that self-employment is at its highest level in the UK since records began 40 years ago. In fact, statistics show that around 15% of UK workers are registered as self-employed, which equates to one in seven workers. Currently, there are a staggering 4.6 million self-employed people in the UK.
Many people might associate self-employment as the preferred choice for go-getting young entrepreneurs, but statistics show that this type of working arrangement appeals to a broad spectrum of people. It is not just the young who are going down the self-employment route. In fact, if anything, it appears those deciding to become self-employed tend to be older, at an average age of 47 compared to 40 for those not self-employed. The ONS also states that an increasing number of people over the age of 65 are embarking on self-employment, possibly as a way to top up pension incomes. Figures suggest there are almost half a million over-65s in the UK registered as self-employed – a figure that has more than doubled in the last five years.
In the last year alone, UK self-employment rose by 8%. This is the equivalent of around 7,700 people becoming self-employed every week. Whilst 15% of people are now self-employed, this was just 13% in 2008 and only just over 8% 40 years ago. Much of the increase in total employment since 2008 can be accounted for by the rise in self-employment.