Self-employed enjoy higher wellbeing and happiness levels

(3 minutes to read)

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New findings have revealed positive news for contractors, showing that on average, the self-employed have higher levels of life satisfaction and wellbeing than their permanent counterparts.

The recent report ‘The Way to Wellbeing’, compiled by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE), adopted a new approach to exploring self-employed wellbeing by considering people’s overall life satisfaction, based on various aspects of their lives, such as jobs, income, health, family life and leisure.

This is the first time a major report of its kind has taken a holistic view of wellbeing to build a picture of life satisfaction; rather than simply looking at economic success.

On the report, the CRSE made a number of recommendations to improve wellbeing in certain self-employed groups:

– Abolish the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) or improve its extremely low uptake by offering accompanying training and mentoring – particularly confidence-building measures for people who are self-employed because of a lack of other employment opportunities.

– Create a more appreciative culture where business failures are seen as a normal part of entrepreneurial life, not as personal failures of the self-employed. This can be done by reforming bankruptcy regulation to allow for good faith business failures.

– Ensure better and faster access to mentoring when starting out and during business crisis periods to reduce stress and improve confidence in crucial times. This can be done by embedding mentoring in job centres.

– Increase confidence by improving access to skills-development resources tailored to the self-employed. The Treasury could also make skills development more cost-effective by extending tax allowances to cover new skills and by granting self-employed people training vouchers.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) welcome this latest report.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of IPSE, commented, This timely report shows why we at IPSE are working day-in, day-out to support self-employment and open it up to more people. Being your own boss, picking your own projects and choosing how and when you work can clearly improve wellbeing for millions of people across the UK.

“As this report shows though, it’s not a completely even picture. There are still some areas of self-employment where policymakers and business leaders need to do more to improve wellbeing. That’s what this year’s National Freelancers Day is all about, and we hope policymakers will take note of both the day and the recommendations in this excellent report to start making self-employment work for everyone.”

Martin Binder, Professor of Economics at Bard College Berlin and the report’s author, added, “Looking only at income or job creation when it comes to the self-employed experience is too narrow and can be misleading. Putting the overall life satisfaction of the self-employed centre stage gives us a much more comprehensive picture of how they are doing – beyond just their income. What, after all, is the point in encouraging more self-employment if people just end up more anxious, stressed-out and miserable?”

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