Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Employment Statistics



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.

8 comments:

Joe Public said...

"......tradesmen .....self-employed.... Their service is second to none...... make their livings - on their abilities and putting their customers first."

The majority realise that a foul-up is 'their' personal foul-up and has to be rectified at their time & expense. Hence the extra care taken to ensure a good job.

Then, word-of-mouth publicity of their skills to other potential clients extends their customer base. And earning potential.

Dean said...

Oh SR, I love that handy man picture you've put up!

*hot flush*

Self employment is vital for a stronger Scotland, it is part of that mythical 'entrepreneural' class.

And skills training needs massive overhaul, technical skills aren't provided for anymore, and useful schemes like apprenticeships all to rare.

subrosa said...

I found the calling of the self-employed frustrated employees laughable as well as very misinformed Joe.

subrosa said...

Oh dear Dean, I'd no wish to increase your blood pressure. :)

William said...

It looks to me like he's trying to say that these people are the reluctantly self-employed usually because of the dreaded outsourcing. An increasing number of employers don't like that fuss of having to pay people wages, pension contributions, sick pay, etc. so they outsource it and recruit the same people on a 'consultancy' or 'freelance' basis. Naturally, this is on lower money and the responsibility for tax, pensions, etc. becomes the hapless ex-employee's - on lower money. That's my take on it anyway. I think it's reasonable to say this isn't entrepreneurism. It's driven by profit and it's a race to the bottom.

Hamish said...

To paraphrase Woody Allen, the good thing about self-employment is at least you're working for a boss you hate.
The excessive demands, the harsh criticism, the lack of praise, the poor working conditions, the absence of maternity/paternity/sick leave (any kind of paid leave actually).

Joking apart, excellent post SR.

subrosa said...

I know he possibly means that William but not all self employed people are like that by any means. Many self-employed people are just that because they want to be in control of their career. All my tradesmen are self-employed because they want to be.

subrosa said...

Auch Hamish, you cynic you. :)

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