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Challenge, creativity, success drives self-employed

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Key incentives for becoming self-employed were the desire for independence and the freedom of ‘being their own boss’ (21.7 percent).

Least important issue for self-employed was the possibility of lower taxes/tax deductions. The search for challenge, creativity, success and satisfaction is among the greatest drivers for self-employed, new survey suggests. With self-employment on the up, a recent survey conducted by leading online freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour, has provided a fascinating insight into the factors that influence people to leave the security of regular employment and set up business on their own.

While childcare provision played a predictably active role in the decision to become self-employed, with 23.6 percent of those interviewed acknowledging it as a factor (56.1 percent of those found childcare to be a financial burden), the survey, which quizzed 514 respondents, revealed that the key incentives for becoming self-employed were the desire for independence (21.7 percent), and a need for a greater challenge, creativity, success and job satisfaction (20.3 percent). Other strong attractions of self-employment were as follows:

– The ability to work from home (13.2 percent)
– Flexible hours (12 percent)
– The flexibility to balance work and family life (10.7 percent).

Interestingly, the least important issue for those surveyed was the possibility of lower taxes/tax deductions that self-employment brings, with not a single respondent (0 percent) stating this as being relevant to them. Equally, only 1.2 percent of people interviewed had to be self-employed due to the nature of their job, while 3.1 percent joined or took over the family business, which would imply that for most people, self-employment is a voluntary decision, primarily driven by lifestyle choices. Despite this, it seems that there are some overarching negative factors to self-employment, regardless of the sector that people work in. Strikingly, more than half (56.8 percent) of all those surveyed stated that the uncertainty and lack of stability in their work was of some concern to them, while 51.5 percent of people had either experienced cash flow problems or worried about fluctuations of income. Three other concerns also struck a chord:

– 28.7 percent felt that they missed out on the benefits of employment
– 19 percent felt that filing their own tax was a burden
– 18.2 percent felt the stress of having too much responsibility.

Only 7.4 percent of those interviewed disliked the solitary nature of their work, which would seem to support the idea that many self-employed workers are attracted to the idea of freedom. Although freedom for the now appears to be a significant pull of self-employment, it seems that future freedom has not yet been considered by the majority of those interviewed, with almost three quarters (74 percent) admitting that they are not saving for their retirement. This is a worrying statistic which could influence the face of the future British workforce.

The respondents to PeoplePerHour’s survey came from twenty different fields of work, including management occupations (4.8 percent), social sciences (1.7 percent), and education (4.3 percent), but the two most popular fields for self-employment were the creative industries (32.4 percent) and computing/mathematical occupations (25 percent). More than 60 percent of those interviewed were educated to degree level or above, with only 2.3 percent possessing no qualifications at all, while the average take-home earnings for UK respondents was a healthy £19,512.50, which is an impressive £1,312.50 more than those surveyed who worked outside of the UK.

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