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Going solo: self-employment in today’s labour market


Self-employment in the UK has risen dramatically. In 1975, 8% of workers were self-employed; this had increased to 12% by 2000, and 14% by 2019. This increase has been entirely driven by a rise in ‘solo self-employment’ – own-account workers without employees – who now account for 85% of the self-employed.

At this event, we discussed findings from a new report, funded by the Nuffield Foundation as part of the IFS Deaton Review on Inequalities, that explores the nature of the rise of self-employment, what it tells us about the state of our labour market,  and how the Covid-19 crisis has affected the self-employed.

Speakers include:

  • James Bloodworth, journalist and author of Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain
  • Giulia Giupponi, Assistant Professor, Bocconi University
  • Stephen Machin, Director, Centre for Economic Performance and Professor of Economics, London School of Economics
  • Xiaowei Xu, Senior Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies

You can watch the event in full below, and download Xiaowei's slides here.