The recent survey, carried out by accounting software firm Intuit, asked 5,000 self-employed people questions about their financial status, their overall happiness, and how many hours they usually work. The results revealed that those who considered themselves to be self-employed were generally earning more than those in permanent jobs; in addition, the self-employed were more likely to feel happier about their work and were working fewer hours than those in employed positions.
65% of those surveyed for the report said they felt more satisfied with life, while two-thirds claimed they were either the same or better off financially than when they were in traditional paid employment. Those surveyed also said they work on average 10 hours a week less than their employed counterparts and earn £33,000 a year – considerably more than the average annual UK wage.
Self-employed people over 65 years of age were even better off, the survey found, working an average of just 21 hours per week and taking home £40,000.
The survey contradicts other recent findings, including research on HMRC information by campaign body Tax Research UK. This group’s studies found that most self-employed workers – a massive 91.5% – earn less than £20,000 a year.
The new research comes at a time when the trend of self-employment continues to gather pace. Official figures reveal that there were 3.3 million self-employed workers in the country in 2001; by March 2016, this figure had risen to 4.7 million.
This increase has largely been attributed to the financial crisis of recent years, with a number of workers becoming self-employed following redundancy, a reduction in pay or hours, or the lack of available positions – particularly for those not in the first flush of youth.
Many people are attracted to becoming their own boss because it allows them to control their own hours, maintaining a better work-life balance and offering the flexibility that comes with being able to decide when and where to work.
Many self-employed workers are fearful about the future, however, with 44% of those surveyed saying they were uncertain about their income in coming years. It therefore seems that short-term gains do not always bring long-term rewards.
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