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The UK’s self-employed: better off and happier

The UK self-employed work fewer hours, earn above average incomes and are generally happier than salaried workers according to a new study.

The Definitive Study of the Self-Employed, commissioned by Intuit Quickbooks, polled over 5,000 self-employed people in the UK and found that they make £33,623 in average annual revenues - £5,000 more than the average UK salary.

In addition, the findings show that self-employed workers work ten hours fewer than the average full-time employee. Of those who have been a salaried worker, 66% say they are financially better off or the same now that they are self-employed; and 65% feel better off in terms of “life satisfaction”.

The number of self-employed workers grew to 4.77 million in January 2017; that means that 15% of the UK workforce is now self-employed. The research reveals that one age group is doing especially well in self-employment; the over-65s have annual revenues of £40,000 and work 21 hours a week.

Money and time are not the only benefits of being self-employed. Other key benefits highlighted by respondents are: control of schedule (77%), more flexibility to work on your own terms (68%), being your own boss (65%) and the lack of workplace politics (47%).

Dominic Allon, vice president and managing director, Intuit Europe, said: “People are becoming self-employed in droves. The financial rewards, extra time available and better quality of life are the headline benefits of a career and lifestyle choice that is changing the face of the UK’s workforce. With more and more opportunities becoming available, all enabled by better tech and infrastructure, it’s a trend we expect to increase at pace.”

However, the research also revealed some of the pain points involved in going it alone including: not having a predictable income (58%), uncertainty about the future (44%) and the difficulty of managing a work-life balance (23%).