Self-employed 'happier' than full-time employees

Friday 26 February 2016

It's always a risk becoming self-employed, as the lack of stability can make it difficult to make the switch. However, there are also plenty of advantages to becoming your own boss, and it appears that working for yourself is a way to improve your job satisfaction and increase your happiness levels.

This is according to a new study by think-tank Bright Blue, which found that self-employed people have much better levels of job satisfaction that those who stay working for someone else.

According to the report, the majority of self-employed people who were included in the survey (80 per cent) were happy with their working life. This was even true for those who were classed as living in a 'low income' household, where the total earnings are less than 60 per cent of the average household income.

This suggests that having more autonomy and control over your career is of greater importance than earnings for many people.

In comparison, less than three-quarters (74 per cent) of full-time employees in 'low income' households were as satisfied with their jobs.

The study also found that three-quarters of self-employed individuals living in 'low income' households said their job ambition was to be able to sustain a good standard of living. Learning what you can expense as part of your business can be a way that you can significantly add to your earnings. Professional advisors can help you determine how much you may be missing out on, allowing you to make the most of your potential.

A further 13 per cent said their main goal was to grow their business as much as possible.

David Kirkby, author of the report and senior research fellow of Bright Blue, said more needs to be done by the government to ensure that self-employed professionals are supported as a major and growing part of the British labour market.

“Self-employed people on low income should be the priority. Earnings from self-employment have fallen in recent years and the self-employed are now more likely to be on low income than employees,” said Mr Kirkby.

He said the government needed to think more carefully about self-employed people living in 'low income' households, as significant changes to their earnings can cause problems.

Changing welfare settlements would boost the "financial resilience" of self-employed people, give them more control and allow them to protect themselves against any sudden fluctuations.

By Victoria McDonnell

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