The recession has led to larger numbers of people becoming self-employed, according to a study. Those who are self-employed earn lower wages than other workers as well as working longer hours. Self-employment levels are at their highest since records began 40 years ago according to a report conducted by the Office for National Statistics.
According to the report, there is around 4.6 million people working for themselves, with the likes of taxi driving, carpentry and construction being the most popular avenues into self employment. The total proportion of the workforce who are self employed is at 15%, compared to 13% in 2008 and 8.7% in 1975.
Less people came out of self employment in the last five years and this is the main reason behind the sharp rise in numbers over the past few years. Self employment itself has also accounted for the rise of employment in general since 2008.
The ONS said of the figures:[quote] “The rise in self-employment can be accounted for by fewer people leaving self-employment than in the past. About 886,000 people who were self-employed in 2009 had left by 2014, compared with 1.3 million who were self-employed in 2004 leaving by 2009.” [/quote]
Of the 1.1 million increase in the number of workers in the UK between the first quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2014, over two thirds were self employed. The Department for Work and Pensions said that many people aspire to work for themselves and self-employment has been a growing part of the job market for the last 30 years.
The amount of people over the age of 65 who are self employed has more than doubled in the past five years to reach almost half a million. In general, people who are self employed tend to be older with an average age of 47, compared to 40 among employees.
An expert said that the growth in self-employment is reducing people’s pay, job security and retirement income