The UK’s working world is changing hugely
The major part of the support rationale behind Working Free are the monthly ONS Employment figures (ONS – EMP01). These are the primary – and probably only – source of full employment figures for the UK.
All other commentators take these primary quantitative figures from the ONS as a base. Virtually everything they do are either analyses of these figures or of a qualitative nature. Appreciating these qualitative figures needs an understanding of their bases and assumptions on how they were calculated. The ONS has their own huge statistical sampling technique – explained later in this section.
The main challenge facing Working Free is this; How do we define the size of the specific market for the workforce within the ONS overall total employed figure of 33mn and in a way to identifies what is generally defined as “atypical workers”.
This is how we do it:
We start with figure for Full Time Employees and amend that figure to represent PURELY Full Time – nothing less and nothing more. We then deduct this from the overall Total of 33mn – as below:-
|Employees (Full time but with a 2nd job)
|Temps (incl: here in F/T Employees)
|Employees (Part time)
|Self Employed (Full time)
|Self Employed (Part time)
|Total in Employment
|All figures are Million.
These figures are for May 2023 – and, at the time of writing, the latest published by the ONS
Working Free contends that 43.2 % of the total 33.053 are what we call Self Drive Workers.
What are Self Drive Workers?
Self Drive Workers are a varied and mixed group of:-
Part-timers, Self-employed, Contractors, Freelancers, Interim Managers, Temps, Consultants, Management Consultants, Semi-retired people, Portfolio Workers, Off-payroll workers, etc.
(Portfolio Workers include a broad mix of Professionals who have more than one source of income and work-type activity (whether on the payroll, freelance or non-remunerated – or a mix of these.)
Additional features that muddy the waters include:-
- Equity Partners in professional Practices are almost entirely categorised as Self Employed but, to many appear as such.
- Many individuals who are Directors of their own limited companies describe themselves as Full Time employees of their companies.
- IR35, seen by many as a silly – often damaging – arrangement, also distorts the picture.
- Those NOT FTE but allocating some of their time to activities that if they did not do this, the state would have to pay for it – such as caring for grandchildren, needy rand/or sick relatives.
- As the ONS base their figures (Labour Force Survey) on a huge sample, they were not able (and this is what they said) to take fully into account the impacts of Covid. (An example of this would be that for a period of time there were 9m – virtually all of them FTEs) – on furlough. Not allowed to work! But still included in the ONS stats as FTEs.
As at February 2022
We have recently published (16.2.22) a Press Release (See here) following the ONS release the monthly Employment Statistics up to 31.12.21. As at Sept 2021, no major re-writing of our explanatory text about “Self Drive Workers” would appear to be necessary. But the figures have changed over the past 2 years -Major unemployment did not happen; Self Employment plummeted dramatically (explanations needed) and, (experts say) about 400k workers disappeared from the total Employment figure.
Working Free still thinks that our figure for Self Drive Workers will rise to about half of the Total Employment figure.
Read our blog (See here) Comments that we can publish are welcome – emails to hello@WorkingFree.co.uk .
As at Sept 2021
Working Free asks you to note that the principles behind the Self Drive Worker concept have not changed for the last 10-15 years (if ever) but the figures have changed. Covid has increased unemployment and moved some self drive workers onto FTE status. We think that this position will soon return to previous patterns.)
(As at June 2017)
About a half of the UK’s working population of about 32m are full time permanent employees on a payroll. The rest are Self Drive Workers.
53% of the UK’s working population are full time employees on a payroll and Working Free contends that 47% are Self Drive Workers. We publish here ONS figures that support our creative contention.
Whatever conclusion you come to, you will doubtless recognise that, with every passing year, there are more workers moving from the 53% category into the 47% category – and not really knowing how best to handle it. Or doing better at it if they only knew how!
However, all may well not be what it seems! We encourage all who have an interest in this area to spend some time coming to their own conclusions. Please read:-
- Self Drive Workers – The Truth About Jobs – (June 2017)
This is what Working Free sets out to address.
Understanding what this is, what it means, how the figures come to be identified and interpreted offers serious value to senior Professionals operating on an independent basis or moving towards this.
The Lead contact here is Charles Russam. Charles Russam is Managing Director of Working Free and led the creation of this website, liaising with a broad range of supporters and collaborators in the process.
- The figures in the following charts set out to isolate “purely full-time employees on a payroll” from the rest – hereafter referred to as “Self Drive Workers”.
- Disagreeing with this approach is a perfectly sensible position to adopt – but wherever you finish up it makes the point that about half of the UK’s working population have, to some extent, responsibility for their own incomes.
- On this basis part-time workers on a payroll are seen as Self Drive Workers.
- Full time workers/ employees on a payroll and with second jobs are seen as Self Drive Workers.
- Of the total part time figure of 8402 at October 2017 (8352 at April 2016) (employees and self-employed) 12% (14% at April 2016) could not find a full-time job; 71% (69%) did not want one; 3% (3%) were ill and 13% (13%) were students. No information is available for the balance – typical of the slow and marginal changes for the best part of a decade.