Call Us: 0333 321 1403

The most popular industries and cities to be self-employed in

Posted on 9th April 2021 by Marketing Executive - Katherine Ducie

Nearly 4.4 million people in the UK are currently self-employed, representing 15.3% of employment, a steady increase of 1.2 million since the end of 2000 [1].

Self-employment in the UK was at its highest at the start of 2020, when over 5 million people were self-employed. Following the coronavirus pandemic, self-employment in the UK has fallen to levels not seen since 2015, yet despite this, self-employment in some industries continues to rise [1].

The self-employed make a significant contribution to the UK’s economic output and while some industries are still dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the flexibility and work efficiency of the self-employed will no doubt have a big part to play in the economy’s recovery.

In this blog, we will look at some interesting statistics on self-employment in the UK, including:

  • The most popular industries to be self-employed in right now
  • Types of self-employed individuals
  • Self-employment by gender
  • Self-employment by city region

Number of self-employed people in the UK by industry

IndustryNumber of self-employed people
Construction811,000
Professional scientific & technical activities602,000
Human health & social work activities342,000
Wholesale, retail & repair of motor vehicles334,000
Administration & support services319,000
Education283,000
Transport & storage264,000
Information & communication236,000
Manufacturing199,000
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, energy & water191,000
Accommodation & food services107,000
Financial & insurance activities101,000
Real estate activities63,000
Public admin & defence52,000


Source: Statista

With 811,000 self-employed workers, Construction in the UK is the most popular industry for the self-employed, followed by 602,000 self-employed people working in professional, scientific and technical roles and 342,000 in human health and social work activities, as of the 3rd quarter of 2020.

 

Types of self-employed individuals

Source: Office for National Statistics

Research by the Office for National Statistics shows that “Working for yourself” is the most common type of self-employment [2], with over two-thirds reporting that they work for themselves.

19% say they run a business while 15% are the sole director of their own limited company.

12% identify as freelancers while 11% report being partners and a further 10% describe themselves as being a sub-contractor.

(As self-employed individuals may identify as being in more than one category, the total of these results does not equal 100%.)

The self-employed by gender

Statistics from 2019 showed that 66% (two thirds) of self-employed people were men – 3.3 million men in total, while 1.7 million women were self-employed.

Over 25% of self-employed men work in the construction industry while 15% of self-employed women work in the health and social work industry, followed by 14% working in professional, scientific and technical roles.

The top five groups for self-employed men include:

OccupationNumber of self-employed men
Construction and building trades481,000
Road transport drivers292,000
Agricultural and related trades197,000
Artistic, literary and media occupations171,000
Managers and proprietors in other services160,000


Source: Office for National Statistics

 

The top five groups for self-employed women include:

OccupationNumber of self-employed women
Artistic, literary and media occupations136,500
Hairdressers and related services132,000
Managers and proprietors in other services109,000
Elementary cleaning occupations109,000
Teaching and educational professionals91,000


Source: Office for National Statistics

 

Self-employment by regions

Unsurprisingly, the city region with the most self-employed people is Greater London followed by Swansea Bay City Region and consequently the West of England.

Percentage of self-employed people by city regions (in 2019):

Source: Office for National Statistics

For more information on how you can stay protected with Freelance Insurance, call our friendly team of experts today on 0333 321 1403, or click to get a quick online quote in minutes!

CLICK HERE FOR A QUICK ONLINE BUSINESS INSURANCE QUOTE

 


Related articles:

Why employing freelancers boosts business productivity, profit and employment growth

What happens if you are called for Jury Service as a freelancer, contractor or self-employed professional?

5 ways to reduce your tax bill when self-employed


Sources:

(1) https://www.statista.com/statistics/318234/united-kingdom-self-employed/

(2)https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/coronavirusandselfemploymentintheuk/2020-04-24

https://www.statista.com/statistics/318406/united-kingdom-self-employed-type-of-work-industry-section/

 


Author Katherine Ducie, Marketing Executive

Back to News