HR · 15 March 2017

Self-employed prove vital to job market strength

self-employed
The self-employed are adding greater value to the UK economy than ever

Britain’s most recent labour market statistics have confirmed how crucial the self-employed population has become to the UK economy.

Unemployment in the UK has fallen to a 32-year low during the first three months of 2017, with the rate of self-employed job growth outstripping that for salaried workers for the first time.

So far this year, the self-employed workforce has grown by 148,000, adding more jobs to the economy than the population of employees, which grew by 144,000.

Commenting on the employment figures, policy advisor at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), Lorence Nye, said: “The self-employed have been more than pulling their weight since the recession of 2008, accounting for 40 per cent of the total growth in employment.

“The latest figures really underline the fact that the self-employed have been essential to the UK economy and their overwhelming worth and value should be nurtured and encouraged by the Government rather than damaged.”

According to official data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 305,000 more people in work in the UK, in the three months to February, then there were at the same point in 2016. This puts the latest UK unemployment rate at 4.7 per cent.

“The highest number of people in work for 32 years is clearly something to be celebrated. We must also ensure that work is of a sufficient quality to provide fulfilment and opportunity for individuals,” Nye went on to say.

 “Self-employment remains an absolutely crucial catalyst for the continued strength of the UK labour market, as today’s figures show.”

The group sales director at job site totaljobs, John Salt, added that employers should continue to recruit with confidence.

“With further economic and political uncertainty ahead, employers who continue to hire with a candidate’s needs firmly in mind will be best placed to remain competitive in a challenging market,” he said.

Read our interview with Matthew Taylor, author of the Taylor review, on the future of self-employment in Britain.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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