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Round 7: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

English title More Selfies? A Picture of Self-Employment in the UK
Language English
Type Report, working paper
Year 2018


Self-employment in the post-War period in the UK was stable, at times rising, at others falling, but the level increased rapidly during the 1980s and again over the last 15 years. About one in seven of those in employment are currently self-employed. The increase in self-employment between March 2008 and March 2017 accounted for almost a third of total employment growth. Historically, the self-employed have been disproportionately male and aged over 50. They have tended to work longer hours than employees and be concentrated in specific industries (agriculture, construction) and occupations (especially skilled trades). However, the relative and absolute growth of selfemployment has been accompanied by a rise in the share of those who are female and who work part-time, and by growth in a broader range of industries and occupations providing personal services and professional advice. The self-employed have seen the gap in earnings with employees widen (to their disadvantage) rather than narrow over this period. Nevertheless, a higher proportion of the self-employed (than employees) have the very highest levels of job satisfaction: they derive greater value from the nature of their work and say they have more control over it, appearing to find it easier to manage work pressures and reconcile their business with other aspects of their lives. Self-employment in the UK is close to the European average. It has been increasing, whereas, measured as a share of total employment, it has continued to decline in many other countries.

Number of pages47
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