Young, gifted, freelancing and broke?

While we all love the idea of not being chained to our desks here at UCHQ as much as the next person, especially given that you have a very clear insight into our lives here, spent writing about how great freelance life is, and the prospect of not having to deal with interns and enquiries about bloody umbrellas every day that it rains. (Which is nearly every day, at this time of year).

But, maybe we have cause to be grateful. A recent report shows that for the young at least, the idea of freelancing is quite likely to be better than the reality. While, for 16-24-year-olds, the idea of being their own boss at some point is a goal for them, a new study from the UK ONS (Office of National Statistics) shows that the reality is frequently a life of less money and longer hours. So much for the freelance dream…

The Office of National Statistics study shows that many young people have the goal of working for themselves in the future. This is partly driven by the mistaken belieef that being their own boss will give them higher wages and more leisure time. Already, one in ten 22-30-year olds class themselves as self-employed (more than half a million). But, for the majority of them, they are earning less and working more hours that those in paid employment, coming out with an average salary of just £16,700 per year.

For young people, men are twice as likely to choose the self-employed route, although more part-time workers in the self-employed sector are women. The disparity between the amount of male and female self-employed can, in part, be attributed to the fact that many trades jobs, such as electricians and builders are often self-employed as par for the course.

Thankfully, not being able to find a job in paid employment was not a key motivator for most respondents, although quite a few found themselves self-employed by chance, when an opportunity presented itself (22% of men, 18% of women).

And it appears that taking the self-employed route is one that runs in families. People aged 22-30 were twice as likely to work for themselves if the main wage earner in their own family was self-employed.

Like so many things for the young, it appears that the glowing veneer of the glamorous life of the self-employed is exactly the same as so many of the Instagram images that they believe to be true.

It’s not actually that glamorous, after all.

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