What is happening to self-employment in the UK

The tl;dr answer is that it’s too early to tell.

As mentioned previously here, there’s a lot of job-switching going on, and there is a generally tight labour market in the UK (and globally, though the UK has the added spice of Brexit to contend with).

‘Economic inactivity’ (i.e. people who are neither working or known to be unable to work) is now higher than pre-pandemic levels, and self-employment is known to be 660,000 down. CIPD are saying that known wage growth is masking a sharp rise in temporary workers and also a fall in the number of self-employed.

Derek Cribb, speaking for IPSE said

“It is now clear – as we feared – that the changes to IR35 were introduced into the private sector at the very worst time: just when they were most likely to hamstring the freelance recovery. Now just when there should be a surge in freelance work to support the wider economic recovery, many freelancers are finding themselves competitively slashing their day rates to fight it out over fewer contracts.”

So there’s CoViD, the post-pandemic economic readjustment, Brexit and IR35 all acting as factors here.

As either Zhou Enlai or Mao Tse-tung allegedly responded to a question about the impact of the French Revolution, “it’s too early to tell.” (Like most political bon-mots, no reliable source has ever been found for that one).

This entry was posted in Economics, Employment, EU & Brexit, Freelance working, Pay & inflation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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