Is self-employment Taylor-made for people with disabilities? (UK) – Resolution Foundation

Extract from an article by Conor d’Arcy

Whatever your job, it’s been hard to escape self-employment lately. Whether it’s plumbers, couriers or drivers, the pros and cons of working for yourself have rarely been far from the headlines. The Taylor Review of modern employment practices has kept the flame burning, with its recommendations likely to have consequences for all sorts of workers and businesses. But one sizeable – and growing – section of the self-employed has received less attention: those with disabilities.

What do we know about this group? First, 750,000 people with disabilities are self-employed. Those with disabilities comprise a larger proportion of the overall self-employed workforce (16 per cent) than among employees (13 per cent). Demographics are likely to explain some of this – both disability and self-employment become more common as we age – but it’s an important reminder that changes that affect the self-employed affect a significant group of people with disabilities too.

Second, they’ve been growing as a group. As the chart below shows, the number of self-employed people with a disability has grown by 13 per cent since the year to Q1 2014, broadly in line with the increase in the numbers of disabled employees but considerably quicker than growth among non-disabled workers. In fact, over that period nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of the net growth in self-employment was driven by people with disabilities. In part, this rise has been as a result of the broader increase in the number of people who are disabled. But as more and more of the workforce fit into this category, a greater appreciation of the way they work is crucial.

Third, the self-employed with disabilities certainly don’t appear to be in it for the money. Focusing just on disabled self-employed people working full-time, they earn 23 per cent less a week than self-employed people without disabilities, and 42 per cent less than disabled employees. These gaps are larger than the comparative gaps between disabled employees and non-disabled employees, and between the non-disabled self-employed and non-disabled employees…(continues)

SOURCE: Conor d’Arcy, “Is self-employment Taylor-made for people with disabilities?”, Resolution Foundation, 22 FEB 2017

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BroCAP is produced by the two librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia.


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