Skip to main content

Revealed: Why self-employed workers tend to be happier

Paystream News

Paystream

Monday 26th Mar, 2018

People who work for themselves, such as limited company contractors and freelancers, are typically much happier in their jobs than their counterparts in a more traditional form of employment.

This is the finding of a new research paper published by experts from the University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter, which has been featured in the journal 'Work, Employment and Society'.

Data pertaining to some 5,000 self-employed workers from across the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand was analysed for the study. While it was found that contractors and freelancers often worked longer hours than their office-based peers, self-employed workers were, on the whole, much happier in their professional lives.

This was because they were more likely to be working in a field that they felt passionate about, meaning they were better engaged with their work and therefore more likely to experience a higher level of job satisfaction.

In addition, the research showed that self-employed individuals tended to find themselves with greater opportunities for innovation, as well as an increased drive to achieve challenging targets and meet high standards for their clients.

While this might sound demanding, the increased levels of power and control that limited company contractors and freelancers have over their professional lives means they can work towards these targets in a way that suits them - they can make sure assignments fit around their personal commitments, allowing for a healthy work-life balance.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Peter Warr of the University of Sheffield's Institute of Work Psychology, explained: "Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have. They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role, and compete with other companies and people.

"They really get to use their own expertise, so don't seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling."