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The report notes trends in self-employment over the last decade and a half. It says self-employment has become more prevalent among both men and women since 2001 – up for 3.3m to 4.8m people. Among male workers, part-time self-employment grew the fastest between 2001 and 2016, while the growth in full-time self-employment remained broadly flat. In comparison, both full-time and part-time self-employment grew strongly among women over the same period.
The report also found growth in self-employment has been driven mainly by those who have a degree (or equivalent), increasing its share amongst both the self-employed and total employment, showing that relatively highly-qualified individuals are becoming more concentrated in self-employment.
It highlights a big gap between earnings for those who are self employed with self employed women earning less whether they work full time or part time. Part time self employed men earned more than their employee counterparts and their earnings are often boosted by pension and retirement income as many are over 65, says the report. The gap between full time self employed and full time employed workers grew between 2001 and 2016.
The report shows self-employed workers earned an average distributed income of around £240 a week – compared to an average of £400 a week for full-time employees.
The report also indicates that a larger proportion of the self-employed have net property wealth of £250,000 and above. However, it says a large proportion of the self-employed in the 55 and above age group have no private pension wealth, with the share increasing among the 35 to 54 age group, suggesting there could be problems ahead as the population ages.