Research shows many over-50s are going self-employed

Growing sector means more clients for your practice

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Almost half of the UK's self-employed workers are over the age of 50. But is self-employment a choice or is age discrimination forcing many older people to work for themselves?

Whether out of choice or not, this is a big market for accountants to provide the vital support that small businesses need at the start of their lifetime.

A new study by Rest Less has found that the number of self-employed people aged 50 or more has increased by 18% in the last decade. It means that almost half of the self-employed workforce across the UK are now over 50 – the latest research by freelancer body IPSE suggests that 48% of self-employed workers are over 50.

With the retirement age set to rise to 67, most over-50s need to keep working for many more years; the findings of the Rest Less report suggests that the cost of living crisis and a desire for flexible working is driving many into self-employment.

Self-employment in numbers

According to The Self-Employed Landscape Report 2022 from IPSE:

  • There are 4,094,655 people in the UK solo self-employed sector
  • This workforce contributes an estimated £278bn a year to the UK economy
  • The overall solo self-employed population is 62% male and 38% female
  • The average age of the UK's solo self-employed is 48
  • 23% of UK self-employed workers are aged 40-49
  • 27% are aged 50-59
  • 21% are 60+.

More information

Use our small business guides to market your practice to this growing sector:

Essential guide to basic bookkeeping

Essential guide to income tax self-assessment

Essential guide to annual accounts

Essential guide to basic accounting

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