From the TUC

The rise in job levels since the recession are driven by surge in self-employment

24 Jan 2013, by in Labour market

TUC analysis shows that since the start of the recession in 2008 the small rise in employment levels has been driven by a nine per cent rise in the number of self-employed workers. Over the same period, the number of employees has actually fallen by one per cent. The latest data shows a slight improvement in the number of employed workers, however since the start of the recession the number of self-employed workers have increased by 333,000, the number of employees has fallen by 201,000.

Total employment levels, 2008-12

Date Total Employees Self-employed
(000s) (000s) (000s)
Dec-Feb 2008

29,499

25,402

3,870

Jan-Mar 2008

29,510

25,428

3,858

Jan-Mar 2009

29,172

25,164

3,821

Jan-Mar 2010

28,807

24,669

3,927

Mar-May 2010

28,930

24,776

3,933

Jan-Mar 2011

29,229

25,050

3,960

Jan-Mar 2012

29,274

24,892

4,163

Aug-Oct 2012

29,601

25,118

4,200

Sept- Nov 2012

29,681

25,201

4,203

Increase since 2008

182

-201

333

Increase since 2010

750

425

270

Since early 2010, nearly 40 per cent of the new jobs created have been self-employed roles, even though just 14 per cent of workers are self-employed. The TUC fears that this sharp rise in self-employment could be masking the true extent of unemployment as people previously in work ‘go freelance’, start their own businesses or are forced into false self-employment, rather than sign on.

Self-employment is up across the economy, with significant increases in all areas of work. The largest increases have been in administrative and secretarial work, sales and customer service roles and personal service occupations, such as hairdressing, cleaning and care work. The concern here is that rather than running their own businesses, many people could be undertaking false self-employment, doing the same work as contracted employees but on poorer terms and conditions.

Self-employed workers by occupation, 2008-12

Occupation Q1 2008 Q3 2012 Increase Increase
Managers  &  senior officials

703,744

664,607

-39,137

-5.56%

Professional occupations

532,094

663,510

131,416

24.70%

Associate professional and technical

590,808

639,414

48,606

8.23%

Administrative and secretarial

98,524

147,541

49,017

49.75%

Skilled trades

1,152,216

1,144,688

-7,528

-0.65%

Personal service

201,222

255,565

54,343

27.01%

Sales and customer service

66,444

92,788

26,344

39.65%

Process plant & machine operatives

301,350

324,995

23,645

7.85%

Elementary occupations

219,503

246,739

27,236

12.41%

Source: ONS

There is a difference between the total number of self-employed people between the two tables because of variations in sample size between the two questions.

Total change in employee and self-employed employment levels since 2008 is less than the total employment change as the latter also includes unpaid family workers (+1,000 since 2008) and workers on government schemes (+52,000 increase 2008).

 

 

 

6 Responses to The rise in job levels since the recession are driven by surge in self-employment

  1. Protecting the self-employed « Social Policy
    Jan 28th 2013, 7:21 pm

    […] character of the labour market, and that in turn presents challenges for the design of benefits. Figures from the TUC show that the rise in ‘jobs’ is actually a rise in self-employment. The numbers of […]

  2. Ralph Bayley
    Jan 29th 2013, 3:45 pm

    Another Factor masking underemployment may be more Zero Hours Contracts. I retired last September and changed to a’zero hours contract’ with my former employer. I’m on the books(PAYE) and called a ‘payroll consultant’. This enables me to do offered work if I want to. Since retiring in September I have done 6 days of work.

  3. The state of self-employment « Jules Birch
    Jan 30th 2013, 6:47 pm

    […] service occupations like hairdressing, cleaning and caring (up 31 per cent). Detailed tables are here. As new TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady put […]

  4. Austerity Means The Rich Get Richer Whilst The Rest Of Us Suffer | Birmingham Against The Cuts
    Feb 4th 2013, 8:37 am

    […] in underemployment (where people are working part time and looking for full time work), because of large numbers of people becoming self-employed, perhaps after pressure from a work programme provider so they can get paid for finding someone a […]

  5. Alex
    Feb 6th 2013, 12:11 pm

    We know people on the Work Programme, and those sanctioned off JSA, aren’t counted as being unemployed. What are they counted as? Presumably the Work Programme compulsunteers are considered “employed”.

  6. Self Employment-Are You Being Pushed Or Pulled? | Midlife Rebel
    Feb 7th 2013, 1:27 pm

    […] first get this in perspective, going self employed is not the direction that the majority are taking, after all, 86% of all those in work are  still […]

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