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71% of Brits want to be self-employed

The UK workforce numbers around 23 million people in total

Despite announcements in the recent Budget which could mean that up to a third of the self-employed could be facing increased national insurance charges and higher tax rates, more than 70 per cent of Britons still dream of being freelance or starting a business of their own. According to new research, this number is a direct reflection of how many employees are dissatisfied with their management or employers.

The UK workforce numbers around 23 million people in total. PeoplePerHour, a marketplace for freelancers, conducted a study of 1,000 people presently in work, and many of them seemed to be dissatisfied with what appeared to be inflexible and outdated modes of working. The vast majority – nearly 70 per cent of respondents – reported that they had very few options when it came to flexible working. Flexible working encompasses choices such as job sharing, flexitime, compressed time and annualised hours.

Another significant finding from the study included the fact that 62 per cent of those working had no real passion for their job. More than half of the employees surveyed work at least 36 hours a week, and up to 60 hours per week. Nearly 60 per cent said that lack of positive feedback or praise was a reason to feel disheartened at work.

Now that we are living in the digital age, where the main prerequisites for getting the job done are a laptop and an internet connection, employees want to take advantage of digital options in their own working life, especially if they are used to enjoying digital choices in their leisure time. The researchers were surprised to find so little flexibility in the average workplace, and that businesses appeared quite slow in adapting to trends.

Some offices are moving a bit more with the times and providing their workers with places to relax, decent coffee, pool tables or other activities where they can problem solve or come up with ideas, but many employees still yearn for self-employment, where they can choose their own working conditions and name their own hours. Even the idea of tax rises is not deterring them.

A senior executive at PeoplePerHour explained the findings by saying that Britons were generally passionate people who had a dream of what their working life could be and were determined to achieve it. While some manage to do this relatively easily, for others it is a long term aim that requires more planning and hard work to make this a reality. Many – up to three quarters of workers – see lack of a stable income as the biggest obstacle to starting their own business.

However, future entrepreneurs who can draw on a range of solid skills including setting achievable goals, finding reliable team members and being highly skilled in their chosen field should be able to combine their talents in a way that paves the road to success. If you are determined, tax changes in the Budget shouldn’t put you off either.

According to the study, the three things people really want from employment is a good work/life balance, having the opportunity to choose flexible hours and doing work they are passionate about. Finding these things, however, can sometimes be more complex than going freelance.


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