Self-employment hits the 5 million mark for the first time

women are spearheading the rise in self-employmentUK job growth was the strongest in nearly a year in the three months to November, according to new government data. The Office for National Statistics said the strong jobs growth reflected a particularly weak three-month period to August when jobs fell, but the data also showed the employment rate hit a record high of 76.3 percent with jobs growth driven particularly by self-employment and the numbers of women in full time work.

The number of people out of work dropped by 7,000 to 1.31 million and the unemployment rate of 3.8 percent remained at its lowest level since early 1975. Over two-thirds of the growth in people in work in the last year came from women working full-time while self-employment has also been growing strongly, and the number of people working for themselves has now passed five million for the first time ever.’

IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has welcomed the news that self-employment has passed the 5 million mark for the first time ever today, attributing this to the rise in the number of female self-employed.

IPSE has also pointed to its own recent research showing freelancers are choosing to work for themselves for overwhelmingly positive reasons.


Women leading the charge

Inna Yordanova, Senior Researcher at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “The figures today show the freedom and flexibility of self-employment are very attractive to more and more people across the UK. Especially women. Female freelancers are at the forefront of the self-employed revolution. Although there are still more self-employed men, the number of women going into self-employment is rising at a faster rate.

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“Not only have 16,000 more women gone into self-employment than men in the last quarter. Our research also shows the number of women in self-employment has grown by 57 percent in the last ten years compared to 25 percent among men. And there was an even more remarkable 63 percent increase in the number of highly skilled female freelancers.

“What’s more, we have also found they are going into self-employment for overwhelmingly positive reasons like having more freedom to choose where they work (83 percent of freelancers said this was a factor), when they work (84 percent) and having a better work-life balance (73 percent).

“Freedom, flexibility and choice: these are the watchwords for the self-employed that are driving this revolution. Especially among female freelancers. Now it is up to the government to make sure this vital and growing sector has the support and freedom it needs.”