Being your own boss and flexible working 'markers of success'

Monday 25 January 2016

A new survey has revealed the importance people place on being their own boss and being able to work flexibly. 

Conducted by recruitment firm Reed, the survey collated the responses of some 2,000 workers across the UK to assess their views of success. In addition to finding that people are keen to strike out on their own and have a better work-life balance, it also revealed that men and women have different views on markers of success.

Among the stand-out findings of the survey was that 75 per cent of respondents desired a good work-life balance - something that strongly suggests that more traditional indicators of success, such as business lunches, are not as important as they used to be. 

The survey also demonstrated that flexible working was more likely to be important to females as opposed to males, with 41 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men citing this as a focal point. The ability to be their own boss was more equally important across gender, with only marginally more men (four percentage points) viewing this as an indicator of success.

It is interesting to note that these findings come at a time when the role of the self-employed in the wider economy is becoming a common discussion point. In the current climate, businesses are often turning to contractors and freelancers as a way of harnessing the expertise they need without taking on the expense of permanent staff.

Such is the interest in self-employed workers that the close of 2015 saw the launch of a new think-tank to find out more about how they operate and how they impact the economy.

The Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE) aims to help understand how such individuals, who constitute approximately 14 per cent of the UK's working population, contribute to the economy and help bolster the nation's businesses.

Ultimately, it is hoped that the research will culminate in useful advice for the government when it comes to policy creation.

The recent Reed survey indicated that, for many people, success comes in the shape of being their own boss and being able to work the hours they want - something that makes the work of the CRSE all the more pertinent. 

However, the Reed survey also found that views of success differ across the genders. It revealed that approximately half of women (48 per cent) aim to achieve their ideal salary by age 35, whereas men are happy to give themselves more time to achieve their goals - typically until they turn 40.

By Victoria McDonnell

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