Self-employed now make up 15% of UK labour market

Today, there are over 4.6 million freelancers and self-employed people. Financial services is one of the most popular industries for freelancers...

More than 4.6 million people in the UK, equating to 15% of the labour market, are now self-employed, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Trends in Self Employment report.

This is an increase of 730,000 from 3.8 million in 2008, with around 50% of this figure accounted for by those in full-time self-employment and the other 50% by those in part-time self-employment.

Read our guides to becoming a freelancer here.

By sector, the financial and business sector is responsible for the highest number of part-time self employed (28%), followed by health & social work (9%) and wholesale, retail and motor trade (8%).

Lorence Nye, IPSE economic policy advisor, commented:

“IPSE’s own research shows that freelancers alone – just one subset of the wider self-employed population – contribute a staggering £109 billion to the UK economy every year.

“The incoming government should seize this opportunity and start paying attention to this ever-growing segment of the labour market. We need strong new policies, particularly those recommended in the Self Employment Review, to boost the vital competitive edge that is provided by our flexible labour market.”

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