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.

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