New Analysis Reveals UK Self-Employment Is Approaching a 10-Year-Low

Press Release: March 07, 2024

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New Analysis Reveals UK Self-Employment Is Approaching a 10-Year-Low
  • Data shows the lowest share of the UK workforce who are self-employed in nearly 2 decades.
  • There’s been a total decrease of 15.5% in self-employed individuals in the UK since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 2.2 million self-employed individuals in the UK work remotely, indicative of the wider shift towards remote working.
TOWCESTER, UK. March 7th, 2024 – A new analysis of the UK’s employment landscape shows a huge decrease in self-employed individuals in the UK since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The analysis by Business Coach Academy shows that self-employment is approaching a 10-year low, and the share of the UK workforce currently self-employed hasn’t been this low in almost two decades. It also shows the changes in the top industries for self-employment, which reflect the events of the past few years.
 
Self-employment in the UK saw its peak towards the end of 2019, with just over 5 million self-employed individuals commanding a formidable 14.1% of the total UK workforce.

However, 2020 saw a sharp decrease in self-employed individuals. The decrease of almost 15% was due almost entirely to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw nearly 400,000 UK businesses close their doors in the space of a single year.
 
Self-employment hasn’t even come close to recovering to pre-pandemic numbers and has even continued to decline into 2024. While a slight recovery occurred in 2022, this was followed by a quick correction as a result of economic and geopolitical turmoil.
 

Business Coach Academy Founder, Zander Woodford-Smith, had this to say: “A lot of this is to be expected. Of course the events over the last few years have had a terrible impact on small businesses in the UK. But the data also shows that now is a great time to become self-employed. The competition is dwindling, and you have a chance to get in early before the self-employment landscape makes a full recovery.”
 
There’s also been a gradual, yet large, shift in the sector-wise distribution of self-employed individuals. In 2012, construction commanded a huge portion of the self-employed cohort, with over 1.3 million self-employed people involved in the industry. But after 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, there’s been a shift towards industries such as digital marketing, remote services, and online education, indicative of the resilience and adaptability of UK businesses.
 
“It’s difficult to say what the future of self-employment in the UK will look like. There’s been little sign of recovery. But while the numbers of self-employed persons may have decreased, people are adapting, shifting more towards the realms of digital and remote business. This is great to see and may be an indicator that there are brighter days ahead for UK self-employment,” said Zander.

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