Wednesday, 13 October 2010
The overall UK employment rate fell 0.1% in the three months to August the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported. The rate in Scotland increased from 8.2% to 8.6%. The figure also showed the benefit claimant count - those out of work and receiving unemployment benefit - rose by 5.300 in September to 1.47 million.
Many economists fear unemployment will rise later in the year when government cuts begin to kick in.
However this blogger has analysed the data and suggests less positive outlook and mentions a sector which accounts for only 10% of employment accounted for 24.2% of employment growth. That is the self-employed who are 43,000 of the 178,000 increase.
First, of those 178,000, 43,000 are the newly self-employed. A sector that accounts for only 10% of employment accounted for 24.2% of employment growth. Now, if this is an increase in entrepreneurial spirit, fantastic. I suspect, however, that it is partly people re-labeling themselves as freelancers or consultants, or setting up tiny businesses that don’t pay as well as full-time jobs. Such people are frustrated employees.
It's quite obvious Chris has either had a bad experience or no experience of self-employment. Not all of us suit the style. For some considerable years during my working life I was self-employed. It was my choice and most certainly one of the best I ever made. I was not a frustrated employee because I was employed - by myself. At times, when the most time consuming and irritating challenge was the red tape imposed upon me, I would think it was so much easier to work for an employer and receive a regular monthly salary in my bank account, but the advantages and pride in making my living by only my efforts, was what motivated me. So often, when I worked for organisations, it was easy to sit back and let others do the work.
What upset me most in the above quote was the reference to 'setting up tiny businesses that don't pay as well as full-time jobs' (my emphasis). That is so patronising to those self-employed who work well above the national 35 hour week. In many cases they have to do so, but their desire to succeed in their vocation stops them being clock-watchers plus that inbuilt belief in their abilities. I wonder what 'full-time' jobs Chris means. Areas of the public sector spring to mind and/or jobs cushioned by handsome pensions and sick pay payments.
I'm delighted if more people are choosing or being motivated enough to join the self-employed. It's not for everyone and it's true that some people use self employment for less than honest reasons. I admit I missed the teamwork which I experienced as being an employee of big business, but being in control of my own future and finances was the biggest motivator of all.
Without the millions of tiny businesses in the UK, the economy would grind to a total halt. We shouldn't denigrate the self-employed. They contribute a great deal to the economy and are the hidden drones in an otherwise big business economy in a country where we have a top heavy public sector.
If Chris's attitude is that of the younger generation, then there is no hope for them. They need to be inspired by the positives of self-employment, not deterred.
Although I live in what is regarded as the sticks by tradesmen are all self-employed, having served their apprenticeships with the 'big' boys. Hence I have a joiner, electrician and plumber who know me as a person and not just a number. Their service is second to none. That's why they make their livings - on their abilities and putting their customers first.