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Research reveals self-employed people are the happiest workers in the UK

1-minute read

Josh Hall

10 April 2018

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Despite precarity and fewer rights, self-employed people are the happiest workers in the UK.

This is according to new research from a group made of experts from the universities of Sheffield and Exeter, which surveyed 5,000 workers in the UK, US, New Zealand, and Australia.

The research found that even though self-employed people have less job security, fewer workers’ rights, and often no pensions, they remain happier and more engaged with their jobs than their employee counterparts.

More freedom and independence

The survey only focused on professional workers, for example those in management consultancy, financial services, and insurance.

But the self-employed respondents in those fields said that they appreciated the independence that their working arrangement gives.

The University of Sheffield’s Peter Warr, who co-authored the report, said: "Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have.

"They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role, and compete with other companies and people.

"They really use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling."

Growth in self-employment

The survey follows several consecutive years of growth in the number of self-employed people in the UK.

There are now 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK, up from 3.3 million in 2001. The self-employed now make up 15.1 per cent of the total labour force, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Call for more self-employed rights

But despite this growth, self-employed people still enjoy far fewer rights than employees.

As we reported in February, MPs are calling for more rights to be granted to the self-employed.

Labour MP Tracy Brabin has tabled a Bill proposing that self-employed workers should have the same right to shared parental leave as employees.

The Bill follows the publication of the Taylor Report into modern working practices, which was widely criticised for failing to recommend concrete measures on self-employment.

Are you happy as a self-employed person? Do you think the self-employed should have more rights? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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