Self employed numbers reach record high, but FCSA calls on Government to support flexible working
Posted Jan 18, 2012
The latest UK employment figures show that although the unemployment rate now stands at 8.4%, the number of 'self employed' has reached a new high of 4.2m.
The Office for National Statistics said that the number of unemployed increased by 118,000 in the quarter ending November 2011, with a total of 2.69m officially unemployed.
Unsurprisingly, the number of public sector job losses is significant - 67,000 in those three months alone. Worryingly, perhaps, the private sector created a mere 5,000 new positions over the same period.
Number of self employed reaches record levels
Despite the grim figures, the number of 'employed' people has actually increased marginally, reflecting the growing number of people actively seeking work rather than remaining inactive.
The most interesting statistic is that 101,000 people have registered as 'self employed' during the three month period in question, bringing the total number of self employed people in the UK to over 4.1 million - a trend we have not seen since the 1980s.
In a somewhat crushing statement, Dr John Philpott from the CIPD said that the surge in self employment was less a sign of entrepreneurialism, but more a sign that the UK is becoming a nation of 'odd jobbers'.
Government needs to support flexible working
Stuart Davis, Chairman of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association, was much more upbeat about the future for the UK's flexible workforce, but said that the Government's 'one size fits all' approach to regulation was a significant hindrance:
"As tough economic times threaten jobs daily around the UK, the way we work must evolve and this means the flexible workforce will increase and become even more diverse.
"It is therefore more important than ever for the Government to create a diverse legislative framework with a 'basket' of supports, encouragements and protections to appropriately support the wide spectrum of workers which make up the flexible workforce. This way, we can enhance the significant contribution the flexible workforce is already making to the country's economic recovery."
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