Self-employed see 20-year low in earnings
Typical earnings for Britain’s self-employed workers are lower than 20 years ago, according to a new report published by the Resolution Foundation.
The group’s analysis for 2014-15 showed a 15 per cent drop on figures produced in 1994-95 for average self-employed wages.
Data also revealed that between the peak of wages in 2006-7 until 2013-14, earnings fell by 32 percent – £100 per week less for each self-employed worker.
The findings of the study point to the rise of the so-called “gig economy” in the UK, as increasing numbers of workers take advantage of the flexible contract offerings and on-demand work from companies such as Uber and Deliveroo, broadening the scope of the self-employed bracket.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) state that the number of people classified as self-employed has risen by 47 per cent since 2000, compared to just a 13 per cent increase of those in regular employment.
Commenting on the research, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, Adam Corlett, acknowledged the changing face of the UK’s economy, but warned of the potential insecurity of flexible-working.
“The growth of low-pay and short hours mean that it’s no surprise some workers in the ‘gig economy’ feel that self-employment is just a positive spin on precarious work,” Corlett said in a statement.
The report suggests that such workers share the same workplace characteristics as those in regular employment, yet don’t receive the benefits of annual leave, sick pay or the National Living Wage (NLW).
In September, prime minister Theresa May opened a government review into employment rights in Britain’s new economy, with a key focus to address workplace security.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive for the Royal Society for encouragements of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, who will lead the review, wrote in the Guardian that “rapidly changing business models and working practices are continually stretching the limits of our employment rules.”
Corlett welcomed the government’s move to address the needs of the modern self-employed worker: “With so many self-employed workers earning so little, it is right that the government investigate how public policy should catch up to meet the needs of these workers.”
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