The UK has nearly 700,000 less self-employed people two years into the pandemic, according to new figures published this morning.
The self-employed workforce fell from a peak of nearly 5m in 2019 to to 4.3m this year, according to analysis by Rest Less, which offers advice to older people.
As well as the impact of the pandemic, changes to legislation led to many contractors who previously classed themselves as self-employed moving on to company payrolls, said the report.
The number of self-employed workers fell across all age categories in the past two years apart from those in their 70s and 80s, the study indicated.
There are more self-employed workers in the 50-59 age group than in any other age group, said Rest Less.
Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said: “The self-employed workforce has gone through a tumultuous couple of years as they first faced the full force of the pandemic shutdown with business drying up overnight for many, as well as sweeping legislation changes around IR35 in April, which brought an end to many previous self-employed contractors providing their services through personal services companies.
“Whilst the number of self-employed workers overall has shrunk by 14% in two years, self-employment remains an attractive option for many workers in their 50s, 60s and beyond, with workers over 50 making up nearly half of the entire self-employed population.”