Self-employment bringing UK closer to full employment

Tuesday 21 June 2016

There has been a significant rise in the number of people choosing to be self-employed, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

This rapid rise is bringing the UK closer to being fully employed, according to leading experts.

The latest monthly Labour Market Report from the ONS, which examines the rate of employment across the UK, shows that employment has remained at a record high. It found that 74.2 per cent of the country or 31.6 million people are in some of employment in the UK.

Within this number, there were 4.70 million self-employed professionals, indicating that this is continuing to be an attractive option for people up and down the country.

The latest figures also suggest that this trend will be on-going, with the number of people who want to be their own boss rising by 209,000 in the three months leading up to April 2016.

This is having a positive impact on the wider UK economy, with the unemployment rate standing at its lowest level since 2005.

Although this is encouraging news for self-employed professionals, it also indicates there is a good climate for those who have to secure new work on an on-going basis, such as contractors.

According to the ONS, there are 750,000 vacancies being advertised in the UK, on average, at any time. This suggests there are plenty of opportunities for people such as freelancers and contractors who need to continue to secure new roles to bring in work.

Speaking about the findings, Lorence Nye, economist for the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), said the continued rise of self-employment is great news for the UK.

He explained that more companies are now seeing the value of flexible labour for bringing new specialist skills into their organisation when they need them, with freelancers alone now making up 40 per cent of self-employed professionals.

This also benefits the wider economy, with this group of self-employed people contributing some £109 billion each year.

Mr Nye said: “The number of full-time self-employed has grown five times as quickly as the number of full-time employed, showing that people are having success finding work independently. Additionally, our research shows the vast majority are extremely satisfied with how they work and most would not consider working for someone else in the foreseeable future."

He added that self-employed people are happiest being their own boss and "fitting work around their life", which has driven the "massive growth in self-employment over the last year".

By Victoria McDonnell

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