The labour statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows a sharp rise in those choosing a form of self-employment, increasing by 172,000 to reach 4.37 million in the last quarter. This equates to a 4.1 per cent rise in the number of people who considered themselves self-employed, compared to just 0.2 per cent more 'employed' people in the same period
This signals an all-time high for the number of people in self-employment, with estimates that they now make up 14.5 per cent of the total UK workforce.
Freelancer group, PCG, sees this as a sure sign that the balance is shifting in favour of 'going it alone' rather than seeking employment and the rate of shifting dynamics of the working population should be recognised as a 'sea change'.
Georgios Nikolaidis, PCG’s Economic Policy Adviser, said: “This latest sharp increase in self-employment is more proof that the way we work is changing. The rise in those choosing to go into business on their own account is now outstripping the growth in traditional employment at a rate of almost three to one. The persistence of self-employment, growing uninterrupted from 2004 onwards, points towards a structural change in the labour market rather than a cyclical reaction to the financial crisis.
“Our research shows that the rise in those choosing to go freelance, a sub-set of the self-employed population, has been building momentum steadily in recent years despite the changing economic conditions.
"With an increase of 63 per cent over the last decade through bad times and now good times, this should be recognised as a sea change in how we approach the concept of work in this country.
“More people want to be their own boss and take charge of their own personal ‘brand’. What’s more, businesses large and small are realising that incorporating this flexibility into their business model stimulates growth, mitigates risk and unlocks serious competitive advantages.
“Freelancing is no longer the preserve of distinct professions or specific age groups. Independent professionals are now everywhere and their importance to our economy cannot be underestimated.”
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014