At Kingsbridge, we work predominantly with contractors and freelancers, who still make up a large number of self-employed people in the UK. However, we’re also aware that the face of self-employment is ever-changing, particularly in recent years, and we’re seeing different roles emerging all the time.
So, what could the future of self-employment look like?
Contractors and freelancers
Going forward, contractors and freelancers will still be a huge part of the self-employed workplace, especially as employers begin to embrace more flexible working environments. Hiring contractors and freelancers on a project-by-project basis may well be more appealing to some employers, rather than having a full-time permanent employee-base who don’t necessarily have a lot to do between projects. Freelance workers can also be used to fill in gaps in a workforce with a high proportion of part-time workers.
A buzzword that seems to have crept up in recent years, makers are, typically, people who make physical things. This can be via traditional methods such as wood-turning, knitting and painting, or using new technologies such as 3D printing. Makers can sell their wares online using marketplaces such as Etsy, or even in physical spaces such as shops, markets or at maker fares. While some makers use their creations to earn a full-time income, for many it is a hobby which can make them additional income on top of their employed or self-employed career. With living costs rising and uncertainty around the post-Brexit economy, we foresee more and more people turning to this kind of self-employment to make some additional money for themselves.
Gig economy workers
Similar to makers are the gig economy workers. While some use platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo to earn their entire income, there are pitfalls to this, as highlighted by recent court cases deciding whether such people should be classed as workers or as self-employed. However, for some, the gig economy presents an opportunity to earn extra money on the side, with some people opting to work full-time during the week and then spend evenings and weekends as a delivery person. As with makers, we see this kind of part-time self-employment continuing and, possibly, growing stronger as people seek to bolster themselves financially.
‘Social media influencer’ is a term that has many of us rolling our eyes as beautiful young people sell impossible ‘lifestyles’ via their blogs, YouTube channels, and on platforms such as Instagram. That said, some, like Zoella and Joe Suggs, become so well-known that they become brands in their own right and can command huge fees to promote products, as well as earning money through advertising on their sites and channels. While not everyone can hope to earn millions, it is possible for people to earn their full income (or top it up) from these means if they find a niche (and audience) that works for them. Still relatively in its infancy, this form of self-employment really does have the capacity to grow and grow.
Some things in self-employment never change though, and one of those things is the need for insurance. If you’re looking to set up or renew your contractor insurance, contact the team at Kingsbridge to see how we can help.