Nearly 30 percent of them are in the bottom 10 percent of earners and 40 percent are in the bottom 20 percent. Over 40 percent are earning below the 35-hour minimum wage. As the graph shows, this is nothing new. For many people, self-employment has always been precarious. The difference now is that the self-employed make up more of the workforce than ever.
I would be fascinated to see what proportion of self-employed people are receiving in-work benefits. Given these figures, I would guess that it is high, relative to the general working population.
Most of the newly self-employed are sole traders. The number of businesses and partnerships, the sort of firms that create jobs for a number of people, is still the same as it was a decade ago.
According to a recent survey, the biggest increases in self-employment have been in the North and Scotland (no surprise there), beautifully spun here by the Daily Wail as a North-South creativity divide!
The truth is, though, that many of these new startups are not real businesses at all. They are those John Philpott described as Odd Jobbers. As the IFS paper says, if they could only get jobs, “an increasing proportion of self-employed workers would be better off as employees.”