Brace yourselves for some good news: never in 40 years have self-employment figures been this high, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS took some measurements, examined some figures, and discovered that the self-employed in the UK – which include freelancers, sole traders, and umbrella company contractors – went up by a significant margin over the last six years, mostly due to the fact that the financial crisis spurred a massive amount of interest in being your own boss. Of course much of that was out of necessity considering the number of pink slips that were handed out back in the bad old days, but the ONS says that fewer people have left self-employment to return to more traditional jobs – and that means people are enjoying their time as freelance workers or contractors.
So how many Brits are actually working for themselves? Well 15 per cent of the workforce – and that’s a workforce that was measured as 4.6 million Brits in 2014. That’s shedloads of people all happily self-employed – and the largest number of self-employed since 1971 when records actually began being kept on statistics and figures like that. Not only that but it’s up from the 13 per cent figure that was where the percentage of self-employed sat in 2008, when there were only 3.9 million Brits in the workforce.
So who’s self-employed nowadays that wasn’t present in the industry back then? Well for the first part the over-65 crowd has swelled by a major amount. Since 2008, older freelancers and contractors have grown by double to nearly one-half million; that’s a lot of Brits that are either putting off retirement or supplementing their pension with some work on the side. This is truly not that surprising considering that there’s a dire need for experienced and skilled workers right now that is sadly going unfilled by younger generations. Honestly, for what it’s worth the widespread use of freelance personnel is one of the few things keeping the skills shortage in check, especially since graduates are sorely lacking in the qualifications department.