Self-employment growth not driven by 'odd-jobbers'

Fewer people leaving self-employment combined with it being swelled by a growing number of white collar workers has resulted in the most people working for themselves in 40 years.

Unveiled by the Office of National Statistics, these new findings suggest that managers, officials and directors are the engines of self-employment, which more people are sticking to.

In particular, marketing managers and other white collar occupations have seen the largest rise in self-employment over the past five years, with an increase of 237,000 people.

Before the findings, there was concern that it was ‘odd jobbers’ who were behind the self-employment boom, alongside employees recently made redundant settling for ‘second best.’

But behind the fastest growing category of ‘managers, directors and senior officials,’ it is people in ‘professional occupations’ who have gone it alone the most since the recession.

In other words, the ONS found that so-called odd-jobbers are neither the biggest nor the second biggest contributors to self-employment growth in the last five years.

Skilled trade occupations, such as carpentry and joinery (which appear to be roles more associated with ‘odd-jobbers’) is however the most popular role for the self-employed.

Seeming to explain why these roles have not been driving the growth in self-employment, the ONS spoke of “volatility” due to the downturn, notably in the construction sector.

In total this year, 4.6m people worked as self-employed for their main job, representing 15% of the UK workforce – the highest proportion since records began four decades ago.


Aug 22, 2014
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