There has additionally been an increase in self-employed IT professionals, in line with the IFS Shutterstock

There has been a surge in ‘solo’ self-employment in recent times with many individuals taking the choice as a result of they’d misplaced their job and couldn’t discover various employment, fairly than pursuing interesting enterprise alternatives.

This is in line with analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which discovered the solo self-employed, versus self-employed individuals who make use of different employees, have change into an “increasingly marginalised group” over the previous twenty years.

In 2000, the solo self-employed had been no extra more likely to have been not too long ago unemployed or economically inactive than workers, however by 2019 they had been 45% extra more likely to have been.

Nearly 1 / 4 (23%) of recent solo self-employed employees had been unemployed within the earlier quarter, and an additional 31% had been inactive.

Last yr, 14% of the workforce was self-employed, with solo-self-employment accounting for greater than a 3rd of all employment development within the UK because the 2008-9 monetary disaster – the very best throughout OECD international locations.

Its report – What Does the Rise of Self-Employment Tell Us About the UK Labour Market? – warns that this rising body of workers is extra more likely to have low earnings, poor working situations and fewer protections than the employed and have been “hit particularly hard” by the Covid-19 disaster.

However, the expansion in self-employment has not been confined to low paid or platform-based roles: there was additionally a big rise within the variety of higher-paid self-employed professionals reminiscent of managers and IT specialists. This may mirror to a extra “contractual” mannequin of labor, the IFS says.

“Part of the rise in solo self-employment reflects underlying labour market weaknesses,” it says. “We present that while there’s nice variety among the many solo self-employed, as a gaggle they’re characterised by excessive underemployment and a excessive share of entries from unemployment and inactivity, each of which peaked through the Great Recession.

“Consistent with solo self-employment being a fall-back option, the share of solo self-employed workers who were recently out of work increased sharply around the Great Recession.”

In 2018-19, median pre-tax earnings for sole merchants had been 30% decrease than these amongst workers and greater than half earned lower than £300 per week, in contrast with only a third of workers.

The rise in self-employment was additionally having an impact on the expansion in worker wages. The report suggests the self-employed present a reserve military of potential workers, which reduces the bargaining energy of present workers and restrains wage development.

“This in turn suggests that some of the solo self-employed would opt for traditional employment if they could secure the opportunity: for them, self-employment is a fall-back option rather than a preference. Notably, this seems to be true for some professionals as well as those in lower-paid occupation,” the report provides.

The report solely lined the interval as much as 2019 and there have been latest indicators that the variety of self-employed folks has fallen.

Office for National Statistics figures revealed final week confirmed that the variety of self-employed within the UK dropped by 174,000 between April-June and July-September 2020 to 4.53 million.

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), mentioned: “After the 2008 financial crisis, it was rising self-employed numbers that kept unemployment comparatively low – as uncertain employers looked for more flexible expertise instead of permanent employees. Now, this does not appear to be happening and the self-employed sector is in precipitous decline. Some self-employed are finding their way into full-time roles, but many others are joining the record flow into unemployment.”

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