A new research study conducted on behalf of NatWest found that a sizable proportion of Welsh would love to delve into freelancing or contract work.
The new study, conducted by Populus, found that a rather substantial chunk of people traditionally employed in Wales – around 18 per cent – would much rather be working for themselves instead of slaving away for the benefit of some boss. The story, which broke in Wales Online recently, found that despite the large number of individuals who wanted out of their nine-to-five grind, only around 2 per cent were actually on the verge of becoming sole traders, whether that means going into freelancing, becoming an umbrella company contractor, or any of the other many paths to working for themselves.
So what’s holding these folks back? Much of it has to do with fear and worry, the research found. The idea of making a go of it and failing miserably is a major fear for plenty of people. The instability in the British economy as it exists was a major factor, as 18 per cent of those 18 per cent said that it was just too economically risky to do so. Still, this reason wasn’t as big a determining factor as it was in 2012, when a similar survey reported that 57 per cent of those surveyed felt the UK economy was too unpredictable. That, at least, shows that people are becoming more confident about that particular problem.
The new survey comes as NatWest, who is partnering with KPMG, is gearing up to open its Cardiff-based self-employment aid centre. It’s part of a growing trend across the country, with affiliated sites going up in Leeds, Edinburgh, Bristol, Brighton and Birmingham to aid people interested in going into work for themselves. Coined the “Entreprenurial Spark” project the Cardiff centre should provide networking, support and mentoring services gratis – as well as low-cost office space for up to as many as 80 local small businesses.
It’s a fantastic thing to see happening, if you ask me. Brits of all stripes deserve an opportunity to strike out on their own, whether they’re founding a completely new SME from scratch or if they’re simply going into business as a contractor or freelancer, and the more support we can give anyone and everyone to help them achieve their goals the better if you ask me. For what it’s worth, there’s already some 4.6 million self-employed individuals in the UK – and there’s always going to be room for more.