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Number of self-employed jumps by a quarter over last decade

15% of the whole UK workforce are now self-employed, with the number having risen 174,000 in the last year alone

Over the last decade, the number of self-employed workers in the UK has surged from 3.8 million to nearly 4.7 million; an increase of 3.8%, according to research from Direct Line.

The figure has risen by 174,000 in the last year alone, equating to 478 every day of the year, with 15% of the whole UK workforce now self-employed.

91% of UK businesses hire contractors for various projects, with 31% of business owners saying they had hired contractors frequently. Of those, 68% said they require their contractors to have professional indemnity (PI) cover, while 21% said it would depend on the type of work they’d be carrying out.

While the average level of PI cover expected is £715,000, 20% of businesses said they would need contractors to have PI covering over £1m, with a further 34% expecting between £100,000 and £1m.

Jane Guaschi, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “An increase in the number of self-employed workers over the last few years means that competition among contractors can be a challenge.

“A contractor who doesn’t have the right PI insurance in place is doing themselves a disservice, as this analysis suggests it’s an important factor for businesses hiring contractors.”

Learn more about professional indemnity insurance here.

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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