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Self-employed workforce continues to grow

The number of people choosing to become self-employed has continued to grow, making up 15% of the total workforce.

Now numbering a record 4.6 million, the self-employed population has increased by 80,000 since 2008. The analysis by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills also shows that becoming self-employed is proving increasingly attractive to older people. 43% of self-employed people are aged 50 and over while 11% are under 30.

A third of the self-employed population are women, amounting to 1.49 million people. Since 2009 women have decided to become self-employed at a faster rate than men. However, Mike Cherry, policy director at the Federation of Small Businesses pointed out there is a disparity in the support available to employed and self-employed people: “For too long the self-employed have been frozen out of getting fair access to mortgages, insurance products and pensions.”

The need for flexibility

The Self-Employed and Freelancer Association (IPSE) has called for increased flexibility with regards to loans and insurance products to provide further support for self-employed people.

Simon McVicker, director of policy at the IPSE, said: “Our research has shown that over a third (38%) of freelancers who are thinking of taking out a mortgage are concerned they won’t be able to. Mortgage providers should seize the opportunity the self-employed present by developing bespoke products. This will allow the self-employed to have the same level of choice and access to mortgages as any other group.”

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