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UK self-employment surges—again

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It’s happened again. Self-employment in the United Kingdom has risen again, this time by 154,000 in the three months to December 2015, thereby making up more than half of the increase in UK jobs. We’ve been observing this since 2013. You’d think this surge in self-employment would level out at some stage, but it’s not happening yet. 

It’s a structural change in the UK economy and society with significant political standing. A demonstration of this occurred just last week. Our UK ‘sister’ organization IPSE (Independent Professionals and Self-Employed) attended 10 Downing Street as part of PM David Cameron’s preparation for his negotiations in Brussels over the UK-European Union agreement.

IPSE has also successfully encouraged the government to conduct a review of ways to make it easier for the UK’s 4.6 million self-employed to prosper.

The prestigious Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has entered the debate, commenting on the structural shift that’s happening in the UK.  Significantly, the number self-employed women in the UK is rising faster than the rate for self-employed men—a major development.

With all the talk in Australia about entrepreneurship and innovation, it’s the self-employed, small business sector where the ‘guts’ of this is likely to happen in the economy. We’ve made big progress with the unfair contract laws. But Australia could well look at the UK to identify the reasons for its current success.

 

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