Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicating a steady rise in the number of self-employed workers in the UK – including contractors working under Umbrella companies and as PSCs – have been welcomed by a major industry body.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has said that the recent rise in self-employment, which jumped by 125,000 to 4.8 million in the final three months of December 2016, are indicative of the UK economy’s resilience.
The figures also found that the UK employment rate has reached 74.6% - its highest point since records of this nature were first taken in 1971.
These figures may reflect a growing willingness and success for people who are ploughing their own furrow when it comes to employment, such as contractors.
“More people launching a solo business makes for a stronger labour market, with unemployment falling to an 11-year low,” commented Chris Bryce, CEO of IPSE.
Bryce warned however that while the growth in contractors and self-employed workers is beneficial to the flexible labour market that the UK is currently transitioning into, challenges still remain.
“A minority of self-employed people should not be classed as such, and are being exploited by unscrupulous firms,” said Bryce. “We need to make the distinction between the vulnerable and the millions of highly skilled, highly paid professionals who work this way by choice.”
These comments tie in closely with the upcoming Taylor Review, a government-commissioned review of modern employment practices, to be lead by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts.
“Mr Taylor must now be sure to call out those companies using self-employment to deny their workers their rights, while also supporting people who wouldn’t choose to work any other way,” Bryce added.