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Self-employed sector divided into nine segments


The self-employed sector has be divided into nine distinct segments after data was taken from contractor's earnings, levels of independence and how much security their work provides.

The report, compiled by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE) in conjunction with the institute for Employment Studies (IES) shows the real diversity of the self-employed sector.

Nigel Meager, director of the Institute for Employment studies, said, “There are almost five million people working for themselves in the UK. Coverage of this group in the media and political debate often focuses on the gig economy, which is in reality only a small part of a dynamic and far broader self-employed workforce.

“The findings show huge differences between segments of the self-employed in many areas including earnings and job security, as well as work/life balance and overall satisfaction.
“I hope the findings encourage policy-makers to take this diversity into account when developing support for the self-employed as well as any regulations that could affect them.”

The key findings show that eight of the nine segments of contractors who do not employ people are as satisfied or more satisfied than 'permies' doing the same job.

However, just over half of these types of contractors have high levels of independence and security, whereas one in five are considered as being insecure.

Suneeta Johal, Head of Research at IPSE and Director of the Centre for Research on Self Employment, commented, “Different segments of the self-employed need bespoke support to improve their position. For example, those who lack independence and are financially insecure need urgent support and incentives to save for their future.

“All segments of self-employment could really benefit from better access to training and skills development opportunities. Not only does skills development improve pay prospects, it also allows the less autonomous self-employed to move into more independent roles or build themselves a broader base of clients.”

Simon McVicker, IPSE’s Director of Policy, added, “This report is a hugely significant step on the road towards securing a fair and decent deal for the UK’s self-employed. By properly segmenting and showing the true diversity of the self-employed sector, CRSE and IES have dispelled the myth of uniformity once and for all.

“Now, whenever policymakers address the self-employed sector, there is no excuse for them to adopt heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all approaches. From now on, they must take a properly segmented approach and give each segment of this vital and burgeoning sector the specific support it needs.”

Lucy Smith is the Managing Director for ContractorUmbrella Ltd, one of the UK’s Most Respected Umbrella Companies and founder member of AllUmbrellaCompaniesAreEqual. Learn more about Lucy on Google.