Is Self-employment Your Best Way Forward?
It hit the news recently that the number of people opting for self-employment has been steadily rising ever since the beginning of the economic meltdown in 2008-09. According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there has been an over 10% rise in the number of people in self-employment since 2008, and 367,000 more people were found to be self-employed compared to numbers in 2008! The key bit of information here is that within the same period, while the number of entrepreneurs and independent professionals increased, the number of people working for someone else fell. Self-employed workers now make up about 14% of the entire workforce within the country.
But what are we to conclude from this? Does this show that the labour market is facing unprecedented challenges, and that people are having to rely on temporary and unstable work in order to support themselves, or that being self-employed is the best way to tackle the poor employment figures and increasing job insecurity? This recent trend of self-employment probably illustrates both of these points. With rising redundancies and unemployment, many people are finding that working independently can be a good alternative to a conventional job.
We have seen colossal job losses in recent times, particularly within the retail sector. The recent closure of high street retailors including Jessops, HMV and other companies has resulted in over 9,000 people being left without a job and facing an uncertain and unpromising future. Over three million of the UK’s workforce are said to work within the retail sector, and recent statistics show that retailors are at an increased risk of going under, with over 100 companies assessed as being at critical risk of facing administration. This means that more people are likely to find themselves without a job or the prospect of one in the near future.
For people who have had to face redundancy, particularly at a later stage in life, self-employment often proves to be a good alternative. While losing a job can be immensely stressful and the prospect of finding a new career can be overwhelming, many people decide to do just that, and use their redundancy as an opportunity to change direction completely. For many people, acquiring new skills becomes a gateway to working independently or as freelance professionals.
Self-employment can offer many benefits, the foremost being that you get to be your own boss. For older people, this also provides an opportunity to use all the varied skills and qualities they have acquired over many years of work. It can also be much more flexible than a traditional office job, so that you choose to customise it to your own lifestyle. Statistically, self-employed people tend to work longer hours than those in a regular job, but the freedom of planning work around your personal life, and being your own boss can easily counter the additional time spent working.
One of the most important benefits of being self-employed is the fact that to people who have had to face the stress and uncertainty of losing their job, working independently can be a motivating and entirely liberating experience.