Are we a nation of entrepreneurs or is a booming gig economy behind the rise in self employment rates?
The self employment route is the one commonly taken by freelancers. Image by Pressmaster (via Shutterstock).
In the UK, the number of working age people becoming self employed has increased by 23% since 2007. According to recently released figures, 4.78 million have taken the self employment route, accounting for 15% of the UK’s workforce.
Since 2007, the number of people in self employment rose by 114,000. Many of which work in the creative industries or in Information Technology. With high speed broadband access available in most parts of the UK, working from home has risen in popularity. Therefore, today’s office could also be the kitchen or the coffee shop.
Lorence Nye, the IPSE Economic Policy Adviser said on the findings: “Today’s figures show the continuing strength and success of the UK labour market. Much of this success is a direct result of more and more people choosing to become self-employed.”
Though self employment is a popular option among professionals, it is a tenet of what is known as the gig economy. Self employed status is also the norm for parcel couriers, pizza delivery staff, taxi drivers, and construction workers. Within the gig economy, guarantees of work and steady incomes can be precarious.
Furthermore, the number of self employed workers include people with secondary income streams. They may have a full time job and supplement their salary with other streams. For example: they might spend their weekdays in the office and earn extra money as a photographer or artist. Or they earn extra money in the weekends as one of the world’s billion Elvis Presley tribute artistes.
For us and several other accountancy firms, Britain’s army of self employed workers play an important part. With differing streams of income and too little time, accountants and bookkeepers are a Godsend for anyone taking the self employment route.