24pc of SME employees want to be self-employed

When it comes to the number of traditional permanent employees working for SMEs in the UK, nearly 1 out of 4 wish they were self-employed.

The secret is out, according to a Co-operatives UK research study – 24 per cent of SME employees would rather go it alone than have to slave for their bosses. While the research didn’t look at how many employees of large corporations wanted to jump ship, but the figures tend to scale upwards with the larger a company gets; 22 per cent of the employees of small companies surveyed wanted out on their own, while 27 per cent of those employed by medium-sized firms said the same thing.

There’s shedloads of reasons for going into self-employment, or even working as an umbrella company contractor or something similar. Respondents cited advantages like being your own boss and being able to set your own goals. Work/life balance is always a popular reason as well, as freelancing or contracting leads to loads more flexibility when it comes to when you work and how you go about doing it.

The landscape, when it comes to self-employment, is rapidly changing. In years past, most would think of self-employment as being a sole trader; today that by and large is still true, as around 83 per cent of the 4.6 million self-employed in the UK are sole traders. However, consultancy work, freelancing, working for umbrella companies, and other self-employment methods are on the rise – and it’s only a matter of time before we have to re-interpret what “self-employment” really means. In fact, the number of people working for their own is estimated to grow larger than the number of people working in the public sector in just two short years.

In other words, freelancing, contracting, and other forms of self-employment are not just remaining popular choices but are growing wildly in desirability. When you’ve got around a quarter of the traditional SME workforce looking to jump ship and strike out on their own, it’s obvious that this trend is going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. And why not? Working for yourself certainly seems like a much better way to a brighter future than punching a time clock and toiling away to fill someone else’s coffers, doesn’t it?

Well, unless you like that kind of thing. Takes all kinds of people, I suppose. I’ll be over here, working for myself and by myself, though. Hope you don’t mind.

 

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