Self-employed cite independence as key reason for going it alone

The search for challenge, creativity, success and satisfaction are among the greatest drivers for self-employed people, research finds.

Key incentives for becoming self-employed are the desire for independence (21.7 per cent), and a need for a greater challenge, creativity, success and job satisfaction (20.3 per cent).

Childcare provision also plays an active role in the decision to become self-employed, according to the study by freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour, with 23.6 per cent of those interviewed acknowledging it as a factor (56.1 per cent of those find childcare to be a financial burden).

Other strong attractions of self-employment are the ability to work from home (13.2 per cent), flexible hours (12 per cent), the flexibility to balance work and family life (10.7 per cent).

The least important issue for those surveyed is the possibility of lower taxes/tax deductions that self-employment brings, with not a single respondent stating this as being relevant to them.

Equally, only 1.2 per cent of people interviewed had to be self-employed due to the nature of their job, while 3.1 per cent joined or took over the family business, suggesting that for most people, self-employment is a voluntary decision, primarily driven by lifestyle choices.

Despite this, it seems that there are some overarching negative factors to self-employment, regardless of the sector that people work in.

More than half (56.8 per cent) of all those surveyed state that the uncertainty and lack of stability in their work was of some concern to them, while 51.5 per cent of people had either experienced cash flow problems or are worried about fluctuations of income.

Three other concerns also strike a chord; more than a quarter (28.7 per cent) feel that they missed out on the benefits of employment, 19 per cent feel that filing their own tax is a burden, and 18.2 per cent feel the stress of having too much responsibility.

Only 7.4 per cent of those interviewed dislike the solitary nature of their work. While freedom for now appears to be a significant pull of self-employment, it seems that future freedom has not yet been considered by the majority of those interviewed, with almost three quarters (74 per cent) admitting that they are not saving for their retirement.

This is a worrying statistic which could influence the face of the future British workforce.

The respondents to PeoplePerHour’s survey came from twenty different fields of work, including management occupations (4.8 per cent), social sciences (1.7 per cent), and education (4.3 per cent), but the two most popular fields for self-employment were the creative industries (32.4 per cent) and computing/mathematical occupations (25 per cent).

More than 60 per cent of those interviewed were educated to degree level or above, with only 2.3 per cent possessing no qualifications at all, while the average take-home earnings for UK respondents was a healthy £19,512.50, which is an impressive £1,312.50 more than those surveyed who worked outside of the UK.

Further reading on self employment

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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