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Explosion in self-employment masks the decline of traditional careers

New career analysis by the independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation, claims that traditional careers are declining or flatlining across the country, and the real effect is being masked by a rise in self-employment.

The research into careers shows that the total number of employed jobs fell in 9 of the 12 British regions recently, ranging from a drop of 156,000 posts in Scotland, to a fall of 24,000 in the east Midlands. The numbers of employee jobs in the south-east (-1,000) and eastern region (+4,000) remained virtually static, while in London, uniquely, 285,000 were created.

The numbers of self-employed jobs rose by 116,000 in the south-east, by 85,000 in London itself, by 67,000 in the east and by 61,000 in the west Midlands. There were 58,000 additional self-employed posts in the south-west and 43,000 in the east Midlands.

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These newly-created careers in self-employment were sufficient to offset the loss of careers in the employed sector and this has contributed to an increase in the number in work in other regions over the 2008 baseline.

Additional research has shown that self-employment weekly wages have decreased at a much bigger percentage than those in employment. While weekly wages for career employees fell 6% between 2007 and 2015, typical self-employed pay has decreased by 20% in the same time period. The typical self-employed person is now being paid 40% less than the average career employee.

This move into self-employment can be for personal reasons, but some state a lack of other career options. There is also worrying analysis that this change in career patterns can be putting even more financial pressure on homes across the UK.

The Guardian quotes labour market economist and former Bank of England rate-setter, David Blanchflower "Self-employment is often the last resort of the desperate… such workers operate under considerable strain, worried about where their income is coming from, and are sometimes forced to finance themselves by borrowing against their home, exposing their families to the same financial uncertainty that is associated with their career."

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