Confidence high among Scottish self-employed workers

Michael Lloyd

May 20, 2019

Over half (54%) of Scottish self-employed workers are confident that they will take on more work in 2019, Kensington Mortgage’s SentiMeter has found.

The majority (88%) of Scottish self-employed workers also believe new technology will have a positive impact on their business.

Kensington launched into Scotland in March last year.

Craig McKinlay, new business director, Kensington Mortgages, said: “It’s clear from this latest research that self-employed workers in Scotland are tough, resilient and generally optimistic about their future prospects, even in the face of ongoing uncertainty.

“Self-employed workers are an increasingly vital component of the Scottish economy and it’s important that the mortgage industry steps up to meet their financial needs.

“Since Kensington’s launch into the Scottish market at the start of 2018, we’ve been committed to providing borrowers access to the credit they need, through products that are right for them.”

Just over one in 10 (12%) think that technology will have a negative effect on their business. Confidence in the impact technology could have is especially common in Edinburgh; a city with four universities and a large proportion of high-skilled workers.

In 2017, 38.6% of all workers in the capital worked in high-skill industries, higher even than the level in London (34.9%). Over 90% of self-employed workers polled in the city said that new technology would have a positive impact on their business.

Of those workers who believe technology will have a positive impact on their business over the next two years, more than half (51%) think new tech will help them make more money.

Furthermore, 46% feel it will greatly improve their day-to-day running of the business and over a third (35%) believed it will help them attract new business.

Scottish lending forms roughly 5% of the UK mortgage market and now represents a similar share of Kensington’s own lending.

The latest data from the Scottish government has shown that the number of self-employed in Scotland increased from 247,200 in 2004 to 322,900 by the end of 2017 and self-employed workers now account for 12.3% of all employment in Scotland in 2017.

The number of self-employed workers in Scotland that are optimistic has remained largely unchanged since the 53% recorded last year; a sign of the resilience of Scotland’s self-employed workforce in the face of political uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate in Scotland has hit a new low of 3.3% according to the ONS. Regionally, there is some slight disparity in results.

The research found that 58% of self-employed workers in Edinburgh are confident that they will take on more work in 2019 compared to just 50% in Glasgow.

These numbers are slightly lower than the 63% of self-employed workers in London who are equally optimistic.

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