Odd jobbers keep self employed numbers down

Nia Williams

January 18, 2012

The latest Work Audit report published today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found:

  • By the spring of 2010 self-employment was higher than at the start of the recession in 2008 and by the autumn of 2011 had reached a record level of 4.14 million (14.2% of total employment).
  • The additional self-employed since 2008 are unlike self-employed people as a whole in terms of gender, hours of work, occupation and sector of employment.
  • Although well over two thirds of self-employed people are men, women account for more than half (184,000, or 60%) of the net rise in self-employment since the start of the recession.
  • Whereas over two-thirds of self-employed people work more than 30 hours per week, almost 9 in 10 (88.8%) of the additional self-employed people since the start of the recession work less than 30 hours per week.

Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the CIPD, commented: “The typical self-employed person in Britain today remains a skilled tradesman, manager or professional working long hours on the job, but since the start of the recession the ranks of the self-employed have been swelled by people from a much wider array of backgrounds and occupations, including many ‘handy-men’ without skills, picking-up whatever bits and pieces of work are available.

“It’s good that these self-employed ‘odd jobbers’ are helping to keep the lid on unemployment in a very weak labour market but their emergence hardly suggests a surge in genuine entrepreneurial zeal.

“While some of these newly self-employed may make a long-term commitment to being their own boss, or at least gain the necessary experience to do so, it’s likely that most would take a job with an employer if only they could find one.”

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