Recent self employment figures suggest they are responsible for a huge chunk of the upward turn in employment numbers the Government so desperately needs if it’s going to hold on to voters in the 2015 election.
But this big rise is not a good thing. It isn’t because we all want to be business owners, independent and calling the shots. It’s because many of us knew we wouldn’t get a job doing what we wanted anywhere else or just weren’t getting the jobs for a variety of reasons.
When I went to Uni at 35 I knew there was absolutely no chance anyone in the fashion industry was ever going to want to employ me. I’m too old, I want a living wage and I won’t be convinced I should be grateful for my job.
The only reason I went to Uni was because I knew I wanted to run my own business. Three years on I’m still here but like many self employed people I am living on a financial knife edge earning too much to be a problem to the benefits system but not enough to be putting anything back in.
I think a good proportion of us would have gladly accepted a contract with someone else at the helm if it meant we got to do what we loved.
Sadly, perhaps, there just aren’t enough paid creative positions to go round. There are far too many creatives (many of them sub-standard due to a lack of industry regulation) and far too few financially rewarding positions. ‘For the love of it’ does not pay bills.
At what point do we begin to question the number of people doing what they want work wise but doing it in poverty? And how does that impact on everything else around us and the wider economy?
Whilst it’s bumping up Government statistics, the finer details of who is employed where doesn’t really matter, but eventually someone is going to begin to question the economic input these people are or aren’t having. These trends are not improving our financial prosperity, at least not for your average entrepreneur and certainly not in the wider scheme of things.
I haven’t contributed to the income tax pot since 2009 when I gave up employment to become a Government funded student for three years. Since then I haven’t earned enough to contribute a single penny except in National Insurance, and when that is abolished thanks to this year’s budget (signalling I believe a phasing out of the state pension) I’m not entirely sure what I will give back to the State apart from one figure less on those embarrassing unemployment statistics.