Self-employed professionals are happier working for themselves

Nine tenths of self-employed professionals in the UK are happier in their new careers than when they were in traditional employment.

The top three things most enjoyed by self-employed professionals are freedom in their working life, being their own boss and being able to fit their work around other commitments, according to a study by Markel.

Nearly 40 per cent say they miss nothing from the typical working environment, while those that do cite social interaction and outings with colleagues as the most missed aspects of working in a traditional job.

While job satisfaction may be high, 18 per cent of respondents spend just one to four hours with family per week, the equivalent of up to 34 minutes per day, while a further 20 per cent see them for less than an hour a week – a maximum of just 9 minutes per day.

Additionally, one in four (26 per cent) take less than five days holidays each year, finds the study of 250 self-employed professionals.

Self-employed professionals see job insecurity as a concern

Uncertainty of income tops the list of the least-enjoyed aspects of being self-employed, with 35 per cent of respondents cite money as their main worry in their role, followed by job insecurity and lack of structure; factors which are of less concern to full-time employees.

The findings come at a time when, according to a 2015 CIPD report, job satisfaction is down year-on-year in the traditional working environment, being at its lowest for two years.

Job satisfaction among the self-employed is highest in those aged 45 and over, as well as respondents living in Wales and the South West.

Paul Aveyard, digital marketing manager at Markel says, ‘Those in full-time employment are often considered to be at an advantage compared to the self-employed and those working in the gig economy.

‘But nearly all of the self-employed seem to prefer working for themselves, so much so that a quarter of them take less than five days holiday a year and well over a third spend only up to four hours a week with their family. They seem to really like their work and being their own boss.’

Further reading on starting a company

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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