Self-employment benefits outweigh challenges

Friday 21 October 2016

A report published by the Resolution Foundation - which researches and analyses living standards in the UK - has found that those who are self-employed now are earning less than two decades ago.

Even though self-employment is on the rise - and has been so for about a decade - average earnings “are typically lower than they were 20 years ago” according to Adam Corlett, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

In the report, the foundation stated that self-employment in the UK has grown by 45 per cent since 2001 and 2002, but average weekly earnings have fallen by £60. This is attributed to the rise of low-paid jobs, the emergence of the so-called ‘gig economy’ and the financial crisis of 2008.

Over the past decade average earnings per week decreased even further: between 2006-2007 and 2013-2014, earnings fell by £100.

In order to deal with this trend, prime minister Theresa May announced that she had appointed Matthew Taylor - former adviser to Tony Blair - to conduct a review looking at working rights and practices for the self-employed earlier this month.

Despite the findings by the Resolution Foundation, these trends are not applicable to all self-employed workers.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has commented on the results of the survey. In response, Jordan Marshall, - IPSE policy development manager, - said: “Working for yourself involves a lot of hard work and is not for everyone, but it’s abundantly clear that most self-employed people don’t want to work any other way.”

Mr Marshall also went on to say that those who are self-employed enjoy flexible working, and many of those who choose to work for themselves are located within highly skilled professions, such as those working in consulting, IT, healthcare and engineering.
The report refers to those in low-paid, low-skilled roles. People in highly skilled professions are more likely earn more and experience more benefits of self-employment, and they are more likely to enjoy a greater standard of living. It may be challenging for some, but for highly-skilled professionals it is the right path for them to take, and it is the way forward for the future of the UK economy.

By Victoria McDonnell

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