More women choosing to become self-employed

Friday 30 September 2016

The number of self-employed women across the UK is on the rise, according to research from Towergate. Over the last eight years, the number of female entrepreneurs choosing self-employment has increased by around 40 per cent.

Some 427,000 women have chosen to become self-employed during this time, which is a stark contrast to the 13 per cent (or 358,000) men who have taken the step. This means that almost a third (32 per cent) of all self-employed people in the UK are women, which is compared to just 28 per cent before the recession of 2008-09. 

Figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2014 also revealed that more single person businesses are being owned and run by women, with 20 per cent listed that year. This is around 1.1 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in total. Around 38 per cent of all SMEs the same year were companies that were at least partially run by women, working out at roughly two million.   

The insurance firm stated that the trend for female self-employment is reflected by the fact that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of SME policy holders are women. The findings also showed that over the last 12 months, retail was the most common sector for new business policies applied for by women.

Annie Plaskett from Towergate said: “Over the past few years we’ve witnessed huge increases in women taking the plunge and starting their own businesses. Small businesses are the engine of the UK economy and with the growth of female-led SMEs outstripping those by men it’s clear it’s women who are in the driving seat."

These findings come as figures from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) last month revealed that the number of self-employed individuals in the UK rose in the three months to June 2016 from 257,000 to 4.79 million.

On top of this, the demand for freelancers seems to be increasing too, showing that firms across the country are realising what a vital resource self-employed professionals are, especially with many of them helping to plug growing skills gaps, such as in the IT sector.

By Victoria McDonnell

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