Over-50s self-employment soars

An increasing number of individuals over 50 are venturing into business ownership.

Despite a general decline in self-employment since 2020, the latest analysis by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) reveals a significant uptick in the older demographic taking the entrepreneurial leap.

As of 2023, the number of self-employed business owners aged 50 and over has surged to 1.1 million - a notable increase of 89,000 compared to 2020. This growth has occurred despite the overall solo self-employed population decreasing by 154,000 during the same period.

The IPSE's Self-Employed Landscape report highlights that 15% of these over-50 entrepreneurs started their businesses within the past three years. This trend underlines a growing enthusiasm among the older generation to embrace self-employment.

The report also sheds light on the economic impact of this sector, which saw its contribution jump by over £50 billion in 2023, reaching a total of £331bn. This marks a significant rebound after a decline in 2022.

While the sector remains predominantly male, with a 61% male to 39% female distribution, there has been a slight increase in the number of women entering self-employment. This aligns with a long-term trend of increasing female self-employment, which has grown by 63% since 2008, reflecting a steady shift towards gender diversity in the self-employed workforce.

IPSE's director of policy, Andy Chamberlain, said:

"It's clear that self-employment's offer of independence and autonomy in work are particularly attractive to experienced professionals, especially if they have lost an employed role or have become disillusioned with the 9-to-5.

"The UK is fortunate to have a vibrant self-employed sector that offers a fresh shot at success to people at any stage in their careers, and we should celebrate the fact that tens of thousands more people - especially those over 50 - are doing just that."

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