Like foxes fleeing a sensationalist city, workers have turned their back on working for companies and have started to work for themselves instead (I can only assume this is how Fantastic Mr. Fox got started). The Office for National Statistics has recently announced that the number of those who are self-employed has risen by 367,000 since 2008. Apparently 60% of this rise has come since 2011. In comparison, the number of employees has dropped by 434,000 between 2008 and 2012. The remainder have been left to claw at Jobcentre windows, presumably.
This was true across the entirety of the UK, except in Northern Ireland, where the numbers of the self-employed actually decreased. People who started up a business with their partner also increased, although some poorly judged Valentine’s Day presents could soon put pay to that.
The study also found out that freelancers worked longer hours than the employed (an extra 2 hours a week on average) and that they also tended to be older and were more likely to be men. The average age sits at 47, while 70% of those who are self employed are male. This probably isn’t surprising when the top four self-employed occupations are taxi drivers, carpenters and joiners, “other” construction trades and farmers.
The question remains as to whether this is a positive thing or not. It’s certainly good that people are trying to go it alone and it’s something the government has been trying to push with things like the Start Up Loans scheme.
If these statistics are too boring in text and you’d like to see a video, the Office of National Statistics has you covered.
Photo by Alex Indigo