23% surge in self-employed workers in last decade

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Orginally published in BusinessMatters

New analysis shows that the number of self-employed workers in the UK has increased from 3.8 million to nearly 4.7 million in the past decade, a rise of 23 per cent.

In the last year alone, the amount of self-employed workers increased by 174,000 – or 478 every day of the year. This section of the workforce now represents one in seven UK employees, contributing to increased competition for contracted work.

The vast majority of UK businesses hire contractors for various projects. Almost a third of business owners said they had hired contractors frequently, demonstrating some very positive job prospects for the nation’s consultants.

The majority of these businesses require their contractors to have professional indemnity (PI) cover to perform consultancy services for the company, while a fifth say it would depend on the type of work they would be undertaking for the firm.


Nearly a fifth of business owners require the consultants to have PI to cover over £1 million, with a further 34 per cent – equating to 1.83 million businesses, expecting anything from £100,000 to £1 million. The average level of PI cover expected is £715,000.

Jane Guaschi, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business said: “An increase in the number of self-employed workers over the last few years means that competition among contractors can be a challenge. A contractor who doesn’t have the right PI insurance in place is doing themselves a disservice, as this analysis suggests it’s an important factor for businesses hiring contractors.

“Aside from the employment implications, professional indemnity insurance is an important factor for anyone offering advice or professional services. It can cover individuals and businesses for a range of risks such as if a client claims there’s a problem with any work which has led to financial loss or caused reputational damage. It’s also vital for anyone who has access to sensitive information or might infringe intellectual property rights.”

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