Number of Self-employed Up 700,000 Since 2008

Bank of England’s report says self-employment boom is not due to “hidden unemployment” but increase in new technologies, older workers and female entrepreneurs

Number of Self-employed Up 700,000 Since 2008

The number of people registered as self-employed in the UK has increased by 700,000 since 2008 and now accounts for 15% of the UK’s workforce at 4.5 million, according to the Bank of England’s (BoE) report.

The report concludes that this unrelenting growth in entrepreneurs is a result of technological and demographic changes, opposing concerns that a rise in self-employed individuals means that employment figures are not as healthy as they may initially be perceived.

According to BoE’s analysis the boom indicates an increase in the number of low-paid, less intensive self-employment and not a struggling jobs market as just 4% of those registered as self-employed are looking for a job and there has been a rise in the number of entrepreneurs that earn £5,000-£7,500 a year.

The BoE believe that the increase in self-employment, which accounts for a third of the growth in employment since 2010, is a consequence of trends that initially emerged prior to the economic turndown.

The report attributes the increase to technology developments creating more opportunities for new business ideas as well as the rise in women becoming entrepreneurs in search of more flexible work to balance childcare. It also points to the rise in the UK’s ageing population as older people are more likely to become entrepreneurs.

Director of Policy and External Affairs, Simon McVicker, commented on the report;

“We welcome the report from the Bank of England that confirms the boom in self-employment reflects a structural change to the economy and adds to the mounting evidence that the rise in self-employment is the continuation of a long term shift in the labour market.

“The self-employed now constitute almost 15% of the workforce and have been the catalyst for economic growth and recovery in the UK and it is high time they are celebrated for this fact”.

Check out the BoE’s full report here.

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