The true diversity of self-employment

Uncovering the different segments of the UK's self-employed workforce

Williams M, Broughton A, Meager N, Spiegelhalter K, Johal S, Jenkins K |   | Centre for Research on Self-Employment | Nov 2017

cover image

This report produced by IES in conjunction with the Centre for Research on Self-Employment presents analysis of the solo self-employed workforce and identifies nine distinct segments of this population.

In the context of a considerable rise in the numbers of solo self-employed workers, and growing policy and media scrutiny of the self-employed workforce, the research helps to explain the diverse nature of this broad section of the UK workforce.

The analysis found that the majority of the solo self-employed workforce experience high levels of independence, security and job satisfaction. Indeed, eight out of the nine segments of the solo self-employed, identified in the research, were as satisfied, or more satisfied, than employees doing similar jobs.

The research involved a detailed literature review and analysis of three datasets offering insights on the self-employed workforce. These datasets were the Labour Force Survey, the Family Resources Survey and Understanding Society. Key indicators across these three datasets were selected, in order to create a framework for segmenting different types of self-employment. These three indicators were economic wellbeing, whether the work is independent or dependent, and the extent to which the work is secure or insecure.

Read a brief summary of the research

An executive summary is also available, click here.