Policies Backing Self Employment Must Be Tailored to Growth Areas; OPINION

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 6, 2018 | Go to article overview

Policies Backing Self Employment Must Be Tailored to Growth Areas; OPINION


Byline: Dylan Jones-Evans

According to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, the rapid growth in the number of self-employed has been a major feature of the UK labour market over the last decade.

With unemployment at its lowest since the mid 1970s and employment at record levels, the strong performance of the job market has been partly due to the growth in the self-employed which has increased from around 12 per cent of the labour force in 2001 to 15 per cent of the labour force in 2016.

Whilst the number of employees fell between 2008 and 2014, it was those working for themselves who contributed the most to self-employment during this period. Even as the mainstream labour market for employees recovered after then, the self-employed were still responsible for around a third of total employment growth.

The level of self-employment varies considerably by UK region, with London having the highest level of self-employment in 2016 (17.4 per cent) and Scotland the lowest (10.8 per cent). Wales had the fifth highest level of self-employment in 2016 (13.9 per cent), up from 11.6 per cent in 2001. But perhaps one of the big debates over self-employment is not the number of jobs created but the earnings from those jobs. Naturally, as with the income of those working for others, it can vary considerably. However, the data suggests that the distribution of income for the self-employed is around PS240 per week, much lower than that for employees which is at PS400 per week. Of course, it may be difficult to directly compare different jobs because of a range of factors including the number of hours worked, the sector in which the business is based and how people pay themselves.

Not surprisingly, London has the highest median weekly earnings for the self-employed (PS352) whilst the North West of England has the lowest (PS230). In Wales, it is PS295 per week although it is worth noting that since 2001, the Welsh self-employed have experienced the highest increase in weekly earnings (60 per cent) of anywhere in the UK and nearly three times the increase for London.

Level If we examine self-employment by gender, there are some interesting and somewhat unexpected findings. Whereas the proportion of full-time selfemployed males has increased by 23 per cent since 2001, it has increased by 80 per cent for self-employed women. …

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