A recent report revealed that work satisfaction levels are significantly high among the UK’s self-employed workers.
The data, compiled by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) and the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) for their ‘Working well for yourself: What makes for good self-employment?’ report, shows that as many as 64% of contractors said increasing skills and knowledge was how they measured their career progression. Just 50% answered increasing annual turnover and 16% said being able to hire other people.
According to the IPSE and IPA, these findings suggest that rather than striving to be empire-building entrepreneurs, most self-employed people simply want to continue working for themselves and become experts in their field.
Three key areas affecting the work satisfaction of the self-employed included work-life balance, client relationships and – for certain groups – payment culture.
Simon McVicker, IPSE’s Director of Policy, commented, “A timely and incisive report, this confirms what anecdotal evidence has been telling us for a long time: work satisfaction is generally very high among the self-employed. After all, why else would so many more people be choosing to work for themselves?
“Determining how the self-employed measure career progression is also hugely important. From this report, it’s clear that rather than seeing themselves as the next Richard Branson and wanting to build up a business empire – as policymakers are prone to think – most freelancers actually just want to hone their skills and become experts at what they do.
“At IPSE, we have been saying for some time that more needs to be done to open up access to training for the self-employed. These findings confirm our calls, and should act as a wake-up call to policymakers. If the Government truly wants to promote ‘good work’ among the self-employed and ensure this way of working remains positive, the way is clear: it must do all it can to open up training and skills development opportunities for them.”
The report produced a number of recommendations to promote ‘good self-employment’.
- Encourage the self-employed to upskill – through adult education vouchers and ensuring the self-employed benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy and the Flexible Learning Fund.
- Clarify client obligations and promote good practice – to ensure clients are able to work even more productively with the self-employed, while respecting their autonomy.
- Promote co-working and co-operatives – to help self-employed people support each other.
- Tackle late- and non-payment of invoices – by enshrining the Prompt Payment Code in law and giving the Small Business Commissioner tougher powers to act.
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