Construction is the sector of the UK economy with the highest number of self-employed workers, according to new research.
Direct Line for Business found that there are nearly 1 million self-employed workers operating in the construction industry.
That population of 973,000 individuals represents 42% of the sector’s total workforce.
Self-employed army under construction
The research shows that construction is in a league of its own when it comes to self-employment numbers.
Its closest rivals – professional services and car repair / mechanics – lag way behind at 577,000 and 407,000 respectively.
Separate research published last year found that the number of construction workers being paid through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) increased 8% year-on-year in 2016/17.
Self-employment ‘growing at a phenomenal rate’
The growth in self-employment isn’t confined to construction, however.
One in seven workers in the UK are now self-employed, according to Direct Line for Business, with self-employment numbers increasing by one million in the space of a decade.
The second quarter of 2017 reportedly saw 23,000 more self-employed workers registering in the UK, taking the total number above 4.8 million.
Whilst more than two thirds of the self-employed are men, women are becoming self-employed at a faster rate – with a 24% increase since 2013.
The research also suggests that opportunities for contract, temporary and freelance work have become more abundant in recent years.
A quarter (27%) of self-employed professionals believe there are now more opportunities on which to capitalise, though there is also a feeling that competition has increased due to the sheer number of people going it alone.
Freedom and flexibility
Control, freedom and flexibility and increased earning power were cited as some of the main benefits of self-employment.
Carly Menken, head of trading at Direct Line for Business, said:
Working alone can be extremely appealing; setting out your own work day and being able to enjoy the profits of your labours.
However, it is often a daunting experience when you first start out.
Construction, self-employment and CIS – learn more
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