Are self employed workers struggling financially?

The self-employment labour market has grown exponentially in the last five years but, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it remains financially insecure for its workers.

The number of self-employed people in the UK labour market between 2001 and 2016 increased from 3.3 million (12% of the labour force) in 2001 to 4.8 million (more than 15%) in 2016, contributing around one-third of total employment growth in this period.

However, self-employment remains a financially insecure profession, with self-employed workers earning an average distributed income of around £240 a week – compared to an average of £400 a week for full-time employees.

Self-employed workers were also more likely to supplement their employment income from elsewhere. However, as uncertainty over Brexit has given rise to a growing number of short-term contracts in the labour market, the move of highly skilled workers into self-employment could reflect a lack of opportunity in the full-time labour market.

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