The amount of self-employed businesses in the UK has risen steadily, for the past 15 years. And is it any wonder? It seems that women in particular, are opting for the benefits that can be gleaned from being your own boss, especially as they can pick their own part-time hours.

Self-employed women are on the rise

According to figures published by the Office of National Statistics1, there were 4.6 million self-employed businesses in the UK in 2015. By the start of 2016, that figure had increased to 5.5 million2. A staggering 60% of those businesses (3.3 million) were registered as sole proprietors and, with a ratio of 3:2 women to men workers, financial and business services sectors in particular, are benefiting from the feminine touch.

Older women in particular, are opting for their own businesses instead of retirement

Interestingly, although there are self-employed women spread right across the different age groups, the biggest increase has been in the older ranges. Women in their forties, as well as those in the 60-65 year old brackets, have had the biggest impact – with the 65+ age bracket accounting for 22% of all the part-time self-employed businesses in 2015.

What benefits are they all gleaning, from working for themselves?

So, why is running your own business so popular? According to the Office of National Statistics, this could be down to a number of things. Older women aren’t wanting to retire just yet – they want to eke out that transition, opting instead, to go from fulltime employment to part-time self-employment.

Increased happiness

Another benefit of working for yourself is you’re more likely to be content with your job and status. Few self-employed business owners are looking for alternative employment and many don’t want to work full-time – another major reason why they went into business for themselves in the first place.

Better hours

Part-time self-employed workers account for more than half the growth of Self-employed workers in the UK. They tend to work less hours than their employee counterparts too. However, younger self-employed workers tend to opt for more hours in their working week, bringing the average hours worked, nearer to those of their employee counterparts.

Job security

Another possible reason for the increase in happiness is job security and status. Younger women and those in their mid-forties tend to have higher occupational positions than those of their working employee counterparts – and they get a higher rate of pay per hour.

Where you live seems to play a part

Another interesting factor is part-time self-employment is most prevalent in the South-East, South-West and London areas of the UK. These areas account for half of the total number of part-time self-employed workers in the UK.

Women want more choice

The Office of National Statistics report is an interesting read even thought it is an old piece of research now. It highlights the fact that women in particular, want to be more in control of their careers, and they want more choice over what that career looks like. The main reasons they’re opting for being self-employed – they want to choose part-time over full-time and in a niche that suits their talents, they want to make lifestyle choices that suit them and their family and, in the case of redundancy, they want to take charge of their own careers and destiny.

No wonder more and more women are opting for self-employment!

If you want to make the leap from employee to being your own boss, want more flexibility and are interested in seeing how becoming a VA can benefit your life, why not check out what the VACT can offer you? We can support you throughout the entire process – and you can get started whilst you’re still working for your current employer! Ready to take action? If you haven’t yet watched our Start Your VA Business Webinar – this could be a great starting point for you. You can access a copy of  a recent recording here

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1: Trends in Self-Employment in the UK: 2001-2015, Office of National Statistics:

2: UK Small Business Statistics, FSB: