Record numbers of people work from home

A record 4.2 million people or 13.9% of those in work work from home or use their home as their main base, according to the Office for National Statistics.

A record 4.2 million people or 13.9% of those in work work from home or use their home as their main base, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Of these homeworkers, around 1.5 million (or 5% of those in work) worked within their home or its grounds, while the remaining 2.7 million people (8.9% of those in work) used their home as a base but worked in different places.

The number of homeworkers has grown by 1.3 million since 1998, when the ONS began recording figures on homeworking, at which time there had been just 2.9 million. However, the ONS says that over the same period the number of people in work has also been rising. The percentage of those in work who work from home increased from 11.1% in 1998 to stand at a rate of 13.9% in January to March 2014 which is higher than at any point in the past decade and a half.

The ONS states that the jobs that homeworkers carry out tend to be concentrated in higher skilled roles than those of people who do not work from home. Of the 4.2 million homeworkers in 2014, 14.8% were working as managers or senior officials, 35.2% were professionals or associate professionals and a further 23.5% were working within skilled trades. This meant that almost three quarters (73.4%) of homeworkers were in some of the highest skilled roles in the economy. Earnings for homeworkers reflected the concentration in high-skill roles, the median being £13.23 an hour compared with £10.50 an hour for other workers. For non-homeworkers just over a half (51.9%) were among the same occupational groups. The most common roles for male homeworkers were among construction occupations, while for women the top roles included childminding and care work.

People working from home are more likely to be self-employed than non-homeworkers, says the ONS. In January to March 2014, around 7% of non-homeworkers were self-employed compared with 63% of homeworkers. Around 34% of homeworkers were employees of an organisation, with the small remainder being people who worked unpaid in the family business.

The statistics show working from home is more prevalent among individuals who are older. For those aged 16 to 24 the homeworking rate stood at 5.1%, compared with 13.9% for all workers, while for those aged 65 and over, it was 38.3%. With the exception of the oldest age group (65 and over), homeworkers were more likely to use their home as a base rather than work within the grounds of their home. For the oldest age group they are less likely to be working within construction type roles which reduce the numbers working from home and using it a base when compared to those who work within their grounds.

Across 2013 as a whole, the South West was the region of Great Britain with the highest homeworking rate at 17.1%, while the lowest rate was in Scotland at 10.7%. As at the 2011 Census, the local area with the highest homeworking rate across England and Wales was West Somerset, at 25.7%, while the lowest was Kingston upon Hull, at 5.2%.

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