2017: a record year for self-employment?

Words, hubbul

By many accounts, January is a shock to the system. Being back at work, suffering through Dry January and feebly attempting to stay on the ‘New Year, New Me’ bandwagon doesn’t always make for the most enjoyable months. But believe it or not, there’s a lot to look forward to.

January (and self-assessment on the 31st) is almost over and done with, and judging by the latest news from FreeAgent, the UK’s self-employed population could hit record numbers in 2017. Research shows that 10% of working Brits plan to start their own business this year. It's a move that will see the UK’s 4.6million self-employed population grow to record numbers.

It's fair to say the UK is gradually becoming a nation of go-getters and entrepreneurs, determined to take control of their careers in search of better earnings and a better worklife balance. As many as 54% of people surveyed plan to start their own business at one point in their lives.

Considered one of the self-employment hubs of Western Europe, Britain is home to male and female freelancers from every background, working across every occupation and equipped with an array of specialist skills. And it's women who are leading the charge, with 11%  aiming to kick on and start working for themselves within a year, compared to 8% of men who plan on doing the same thing. Women are motivated to leap into self-employment for more freedom and a better worklife balance, while men are confident of earning more from freelancing and contracting.

The research reveals good news for one of the fastest growing groups of self-employment – 18 to 24 year olds – with a telling 67% ambitious enough to one day become their own boss. This is the biggest percentage of any generation, and only strengthens the widely held opinion that this way of working is the new way of working.

“Starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make - and it’s clear from our research that a significant number of British workers are considering taking this leap into self-employment in 2017,” explained FreeAgent CEO Ed Molyneux.

“Unsurprisingly, the desire for a better worklife balance and the ability to choose the type of work they perform are key reasons for many people wanting to start a business. But it’s interesting to see that working fewer hours is much less of a factor - possibly because they understand the time commitments required to build a successful business!”

These figures were released in a week where the ONS Labour Statistics revealed that self-employment in the UK grew by 133,000 from Sept – Nov 2015, to Sept – Nov 2016. Today in the UK, there are more freelancers, contractors and self-employed people than ever before.

What made you leave the supposed safety of employment and start your own business? Get commenting and join the conversation…

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