The number of self-employed people in in the UK is on the rise, reaching 4.66 million in the last quarter of 2015, figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal.
Self-employment increased by 154,000 in the last three months of last year, compared with the same period in 2014, the ONS found.
The figures also showed that 74.1 per cent of working-age people are in jobs, the highest proportion since 1971. This equates to 31.4 million people – more than half a million (521,000) more than Q4 2014.
With unemployment falling to 1.69 million – a decline of 60,000 – the picture of employment in the UK is looking bright.
‘Structural evolution’ led by self-employed
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), welcomed the record levels of self-employment. IPSE economist Lorence Nye said: “Today’s figures show yet another record high in the number of people who choose to work for themselves.
“The self-employed are driving a structural evolution in the UK labour market, providing our economy with flexibility and an essential competitive edge.
The figures were published a few days after the government-commissioned independent self-employment review, which outlined a number of recommendations to help small businesses to flourish.
“With so many people making the decision to be their own boss, it’s now important for the government to move ahead with implementing the review’s recommendations,” Nye added.
“Working for yourself is a positive choice, with our research showing the vast majority (86 per cent) are very satisfied with the way they work. It’s vital the government supports this growing part of our economy as they are here to stay.”