Self-employment rockets as redundancies spike by over 400%

Self-employment rockets as redundancies spike by over 400%

New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that there has been a surge in tradespeople turning self-employed over the last few months.

Ellis Osborn, Ecommerce Manager at IronmongeryDirect, takes up the story: “Between December and March, the figure shot up from 227,000 to 274,000. This represents an increase of 47,000, or 21%, which is the biggest jump in 15 years, since the winter of 2008.

“The overall number of workers in construction has remained fairly consistent, hovering around the 2.2 million mark, meaning these new self-employed workers are likely to have recently left companies.

“The data backs this up, with a recent spike in redundancies within the industry. The latest report shows that 16,000 workers lost their jobs between February and April 2024, which is a staggering 167% increase from the previous period (January to March, where the figure was 6,000). At 16,000, the industry made more people redundant than any other sector in the UK economy during this time. At the same point last year, only 3,000 employees were made redundant, so this year’s figure is 433% higher.

“Thankfully, however, the rate of redundancies appears to be slowing, with ‘potential’ cases dropping by 8% over the last few months, and falling by 23% year-on-year.

“For those individuals who choose not to go self-employed, the good news is that construction vacancies are on the rise. There were 39,000 jobs advertised between March and May, up by 8% compared to earlier in the year.

“Also positive is the earnings figure, with average weekly salaries now standing at £760, which is an increase of 4% from last year.

“The data appears dramatic at a first glance, but it’s reassuring to see that people who have left their roles are finding alternative sources of employment, either working for themselves or having vacancies to apply for. Hopefully the picture will therefore improve as we enter the summer months.”

For more from IronmongeryDirect, click here.

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