Each year on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day takes place to celebrate the achievements of women, and to promote gender parity.
For International Women’s Day, we are celebrating women entrepreneurs, businesswomen and self-employed women in the UK.
There are over 4.6 million self-employed people in the UK; this number is growing every day as people move to self-employment either by circumstance or as a lifestyle choice. Self-employment can mean working as a sole trader, a partnership, or an owner/director of a limited company.
The number of self-employed women in the UK has risen by 3.2% since 2009
This means 648,000 more women are working for themselves since 2009 according to 2016 statistics. Whilst the number of self-employed women represents under one-third of the total number of self-employed in the UK, this figure is growing as self-employment becomes more and more appealing.
The industries – according to 2017 statistics – with the highest numbers of self-employed women include:
- Human health and social work activities: 251,000
- Professional, scientific and technical activities: 225,000
- Administrative and support services: 165,000
- Wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles: 141,000
- Other: 328,000
(Office for National Statistics, Employees and self-employed by industry, February 2018)
Women setting up their own businesses rose by 45%; 18% more than men
Entrepreneurship is crucial to the economy regardless of gender, however as women have historically lagged behind men when it comes to setting up their own businesses, it is noteworthy to recognise this change. The number of women who set up their own business in the UK increased by 45% between 2013 and 2016 compared with 2003 to 2006. This represents over half the increase in self-employment since the 2008 recession.
In countries with more red tape and risk-averse tendencies, such as the UK, entrepreneurship tends to lag behind other countries such as Canada, the US and the Netherlands. It’s essential that the UK empower more budding entrepreneurs, including women, to set up their own businesses to support growing industries such as technology and cyber security.
Women in the South East are most likely to start their own business
Seven percent of women surveyed in the South East described themselves as early-stage entrepreneurs. This is in contrast to 2.8% of women in the North East in this category. The West Midlands has the greatest gender gap, with just 74 new female entrepreneurs for every 100 male entrepreneurs (2017 data from Aston University).
Whilst gender gaps in entrepreneurialism may exist for several reasons, be it societal expectations or demographic differences by region, more women should be encouraged to start their own business regardless of where they reside.
Have you been thinking of becoming self-employed – whether that means becoming a sole trader or setting up your own limited company? If you have the itch to do something new and become career-independent, contracting or freelancing could be right for you.
Download our free Ultimate Guide to Contracting to find out more about how self-employment works and how it could work for you.
Let’s celebrate women in business whilst encouraging all individuals to choose their own career paths. Contact us if you have any questions about contracting or freelancing – including your payroll options.