Self-employment in the UK hits a record high

Self-employment hits a record high  

Recently published figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of self-employed has risen by 154,000 in the three months leading up to December 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. There are now 4.66 million self-employed people in the UK.

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (formerly PCG – the Professional Contractors Group) have welcomed the record levels in the number of self-employed.

Commenting on the figures, IPSE Economist Lorence Nye said:

“Today’s figures show yet another record high in the number of people who choose to work for themselves. The self-employed are driving a structural evolution in the UK labour market, providing our economy with flexibility and an essential competitive edge. 
“This significant increase comes just days after the release of the Independent Review of Self Employment, which identified some of the biggest benefits and challenges facing this key sector of the UK economy. 
“With so many people making the decision to be their own boss, it’s now important for the Government to move ahead with implementing the Review’s recommendations. The upcoming Budget represents a great opportunity to announce maternity and adoption pay for the self-employed on the same level as employees. Working for yourself is a positive choice, with our research showing the vast majority (86%) are very satisfied with the way they work. It’s vital the Government supports this growing part of our economy as they are here to stay.”

This research from IPSE resonates with our regular examination into the state of freelancing in the UK – with the number of people using ‘freelancing’ in their title on Linked In growing month-on month (to 124,435 as at February 2016).

Whilst these figures are indeed encouraging, it is right that a modicum of caution is proffered. With up to 90% of all start-ups failing, and half of all businesses failing to mature beyond 5 years it is vital that all new and blossoming ventures are provided with (amongst other help) ample guidance and mentoring; access to (sensible) finance; and recourse to solid incubation programmes.  Indeed many will argue that these figures fly in the face of the recent decision to scrap the ‘Growth Accelerator’ programme.

What is the vital piece of support (financial, mental or otherwise) that you believe is vital to protect the self-employed?  Perhaps you have a tale to tell from your won experience?  Why not let everyone have the benefit of your experience in the comments section below?


Debs Shiplet February 18, 2016

Seriously! I’m afraid as much as many of us adore what we do and being self employed many of us became self employed out of necessity. Redundancy, family issues usually health related, unemployment, personal health, being considered unemployable i.e parents returning to work after doing NOTHING which in effect means child raising etc etc etc. As for what could help. NOT being picked on at every turn while big business gets the keys to the city is a start. No loans no grants assumptions are made we can all afford fancy accountants when in reality most of us take a crash course in being a jack of all trades with no support anymore. Even info websites have gone. I should stop there…. anyone disagree?

the furious engineer Author February 18, 2016

Great points, Debs! These figures certainly masquerade over the harsh realities of self-employment and the struggles we all face daily.


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