Just last month, in February 2016 Julie Deane OBE from The Cambridge Satchel Company gave an independent report to the Prime Minister about her findings regarding self employment.
I read this with interest as the report shows that the number of self-employed in the UK currently stands at 4.6m, an all-time high. This is 15% of the workforce in the UK and it is a growing trend.
Another striking trend of the self-employed population that I cannot fail to mention is that there are currently 1.49 million self-employed women which is a third of the total self-employed population! Recently the number of self employed women has increased faster than men and since 2009 women have accounted for over half of the overall growth in self-employment.
Julie reported that from her research she found that people were making a positive choice to become self employed and the main motivation for this was a good work life balance.
It is clear that this trend is also due in part to the tremendous impact that technology has had on all our lives particularly over the last decade. Additionally the age range and location of work have also begun to change. Shared work spaces are becoming more important and I have seen an increase in demand for more flexible office space and business requirements. Julie reports that the location and availability of such spaces needs to be better communicated so as to increase awareness. This is where a commercial agent can come in to help. It is important that as agents with commercial property to rent we are also innovative and adaptable with regards to the type of property we offer for rent. Certainly there is a lot of interest in the serviced offices we currently have on our books and it is also noticeable that the property we have advertised for sale has generally been to local businesses who want to occupy the building themselves. After all it can be cheaper than renting and owning a property is an investment for the future too. The opportunity to work with a changing labour market has never been greater.
Emma Catterall, Associate Director, Michael Parkes Surveyors Ltd