The UK has more self-employed workers than ever before, leading to more individuals in need of professional guidance in areas such as tax, accounting and financial advice.
Research by Direct Line for Business (DLB) reveals that one in seven workers (15%) are now self-employed in the UK. This is a significant increase over the past decade, with nearly one million more self-employed workers than there were in 2008. A record high was hit in the second quarter of 2017, when there were a total of 4,814,465 registered self-employed workers in the UK.
On a sector-by-sector basis, according to DLB just under a million (973,000) self-employed workers – nearly a fifth of all sole traders – work in the construction industry. The second largest group is professional services (577,000 sole traders), followed by individuals working in the wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles sectors (407,000).
Men still account for the majority (67%) of the UK’s self-employed workers. However, over the past five years the number of women deciding to become their own boss has risen significantly. There are now 300,000 more female self-employed workers since Q2 2013, representing an increase of 24% over the period.
Nearly half the respondents (47%) told DLB that the best thing about operating as a sole trader was having full control over working hours and holidays.