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Over-50s account for 45% of UK's self-employed workforce

Tuesday 16th May, 2017
Limited Company
Over-50s now account for almost half of the UK's entire self-employed workforce, demonstrating that an increasing number of people are choosing to offer their skills to businesses on a contract or freelance basis instead of retiring full-time.

New statistics from Hitachi Capital UK show that people aged 50 and above now make up 44 per cent of the country's self-employed population, with many members of the older generation opting to work as limited company contractors or freelancers to keep their foot in the door of the world of work.

People are now living for longer than ever before, meaning retirements are also longer, increasing the amount of later-life income that households need - one of the factors that is likely to be driving the rise in self-employment among over-50s.

What's more, after a lifetime of developing their skills and expertise in their field, many workers don't want their knowledge to go to waste and instead want to pass on what they have learnt to a new generation. As a result, many older people choose to work on a freelance consultancy basis.

Hitachi Capital's research also led to the discovery that the sum that over-50s are contributing to the UK's economy through their spending is on the rise, climbing by an average of 4.6 per cent per year since 2003. In contrast, under-50s have only increased their spending by 1.4 per cent per year on average.

The finding that people aged 50 and above appear to have more to spend may be linked to the growth in self-employment among this age category, as those who choose to work through a limited company model have the power to set their own pay rates in line with what they believe their work to be worth.

Robert Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Capital UK, commented: "Not only have we shown that this group is now the dominant force in the UK economy, but also that their contribution across jobs, spending and wealth creation is growing at a considerably faster rate.

"It's time we stopped being negative about the older generation and instead of writing them off, we need to become more effective at realising the economic ambitions of this growing section of the population."

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