Over-50s to make up majority of self-employed?

Thursday 21 December 2017

The demographics of the UK's self-employed workforce are changing. We've all seen this happen in the recent past, such as when it was revealed that more women - particularly mothers - were working for themselves. However, the newest revelation is that age is likely to become more of a factor over the next few years.

New research from Hitachi Capital UK and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that, by 2024, the majority of the self-employed workforce will be made up of people over 50 years old. This forecast is based on a number of different factors, such as the move away from retirement for many older people.

While traditionally this has been the time of life where people gave up their jobs and took their pensions, an increasing number of over-50s are choosing to work for themselves instead. In 2012, 65 per cent of 50 to 64-year-olds were in work. By 2016, that number had increased to 71 per cent.

If this trend continues as it is, it will lead to over nine million 50 to 64-year-olds in work by the end of 2018, and ten million by 2021. Many of these people will be self-employed, especially as more and more older workers take this step.

Kay Daniel Neufeld, senior economist at the CEBR, said: “Self-employment among the over-50s has risen much more quickly than it has for younger cohorts, driven by demographic factors such as the rising average age of UK workers, as well as structural changes in the labour market.

“Interestingly, the data suggests that nowadays older workers more often end their careers in self-employment instead of retiring directly. This sometimes involves a change in occupation, but quite often people decide to stick with their industry following a preference to work more autonomously.”

If you're looking at these figures and thinking that self-employment is a good option for you, there are plenty of options. You might want to consider working through an umbrella company, for example, or even setting up your own limited company if it makes the most sense for your circumstances.

Whatever the case, Brookson will be able to help you out. You can download one of our guides, or get in touch for a free illustration of what your take-home pay could be as a self-employed worker. You might find that it is the perfect step to take instead of retirement.

By Victoria McDonnell

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