Economic downturn sees surge in numbers of
self-employed, Kelly workforce survey reveals The UK’s economic recession has
forged a new generation of home-grown entrepreneurs, with more than one-in-five
respondents describing themselves as ‘self-employed’, and among the rest,
almost half expressing a desire to work more independently, according to the
latest survey from global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services.
The findings are part of the
Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained the views of approximately 134,000
people, including approximately 6,000 in the U.K. The survey also finds that 20
percent of respondents have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and want to
start their own business, with Gen Y (aged 18-29) the most enthusiastic about a
Those who are self-employed – also known as independent contractors or free
agents – are more likely to be Gen X (aged 30-47) and baby boomers (aged
48-65), and are mostly male. Kelly Services General Manager John Callagher
says, “Many of those who lost their jobs as a result of the global
economic crisis are seizing the opportunity to reinvent themselves as
independent contractors, freelancers and consultants, as well as starting their
own businesses. Today, more people are taking charge of their own careers and
view self-employment as a way of achieving personal and professional success.”
Results of the survey in the U.K reveal:
22 percent of respondents
are currently self-employed, made up of 32 percent of baby boomers, 23 percent
of Gen X and 19 percent of Gen Y.
The highest concentration of
self-employed workers are in London (25 percent), followed by the Midlands and
South West (22 percent), North East, North West and South East (20 percent),
Scotland (19 percent), and Wales (18 percent).
Fear Factor – The main
factors cited by respondents that would prevent a move into self-employment are
uncertainty about income (55 percent), lack of support (16 percent), and risk
of failure (10 percent).
boomers and Gen X are more confident than Gen Y that their skills will be
sufficient to enable a move into self-employment.
45 percent of respondents
believe they have the sufficient skills to start their own business.
Green Shoots: 20 percent of
respondents plan to start a business, comprising 23 percent of Gen Y, 17
percent of Gen X, and 12 percent of baby boomers.
The appeal of self-employment coincides with a trend toward the outsourcing of
non-core functions, which has seen many organisations reduce their permanent
workforce, creating new opportunities for these independent contractors.
When seen from a generational perspective, there is a pattern of younger
workers being more enthusiastic than their older counterparts about embarking
on a more flexible and entrepreneurial work arrangement.
Those industries with the greatest concentration of self-employed workers were
Education, Government, Engineering and IT.
“Our survey results indicate an increase in the number of people who are either
engaged in or are planning some form of entrepreneurial activity. Despite
economic uncertainty, the idea of moving out of the traditional employment
relationship is appealing to those who want the flexibility of working for
themselves,” John concludes.
20 May 2010
Human Resources news brought to you by theHRDIRECTOR ; the only independent strategic HR publication.