The PCG has taken a closer look at the latest Labour Market Statistics from the ONS to find that self-employment has climbed by a further 404,000 over the past 12 months to hit 4.58 million.
The figure represents a year-on-year increase of 9.7% and a quarterly increase of 1.7%. According to the PCG’s Josh Morgan-Hobbs, this means that self-employment accounts for nearly half the growth in employment over the last 12 months.
At its current rate of increase, self-employment is on course to pass the five million mark by the end of the year and to surpass the total number of people employed in the public sector by 2016, where the headcount has been falling by 4.9% a year.
Not only are more people than ever before opting to work as Umbrella Company Employees or otherwise striking out on their own as freelancers but also the number of women choosing to do this has risen impressively. Although men still represent the majority of self-employed people at over three million, women now account for almost 1.5 million and the rate of growth in female self-employment has outstripped that for males by over two-to-one (15.1% to 7.3%).
Welcoming the figures, the PCG’s director of policy and external affairs, Simon McVicker, said: “Over the last year we’ve seen the rate of growth in self-employment rise at almost five times the rate of traditional employment to stand at a record high of 4.58 million. Unemployment also fell by 6.5%, thanks in no small part to the army of brave individuals making the choice to go it alone.”