Older workers lead surge in self employment


Older workers are leading a surge in self employment that has helped keep the jobless total down.

The number of self-employed has risen by 300,000 since the start of the recession and now make up over 14% of the UK workforce.

The figures were welcomed as an important source of private sector employment by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development who compiled the data. 

However the figures also showed that rather than being budding young entrepreneurs 80% of the new self-employed were over 50, leading some to speculate that they were resorting to self-employment rather than choosing it because they couldn’t find full time work and couldn’t afford to retire.

Keith Simpson of recruitment website Skilled People said; “A lot of people are following the self-employed route either willingly or resignedly – because they don’t have other options.” 

He also revealed that those over 50 who lost their jobs or took voluntary redundancy sometimes struggled to find new full-time work which made self-employment an attractive option with some willing to work for nothing in order to re-launch their careers.

The CIPD’s data also revealed other differences among the new self-employed. 

Whereas the typical self-employed person in the UK today is likely to be a skilled tradesman, manager or professional working long hours, the new self-employed come from a wide range of backgrounds including many unskilled workers who in 90% of cases work fewer than 30 hours a week.

As life expectation increases and pension funds diminish, many self-employed are opting to keep working beyond retirement age driving a 54% surge in the number of self-employed aged 65 and older.

If you are newly self-employed and need help completing your Self Assessment Tax Return, you can contact Arcus for further assistance and a no-obligation initial meeting on 01572 770 552 or by e-mail on andrew@arcus-tax.co.uk.


  • Date posted:
    27/02/2013
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