Are self employed women driving inequality?


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Government support for the self-employed in the UK has crashed, as for the first time ever more women than men have started working for themselves. With lower than ever investment or support, is this new generation of enterprising women being set-up to fail?

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Are self employed women driving inequality?

  1. 1. Are self-employed women driving inequality? Erika Watson, Prowess
  2. 2. Recession UK – Selfemployment replaced jobs… Source: ONS Feb 2013 76_298533.pdf
  3. 3. Women are at the fore of this shift • The new self-employed between 2008-2012 were mostly female (53%) • There are now around 20% more self-employed women than in 2008.
  4. 4. Positives…  People are positive about being their own boss in the UK.  14% are already self-employed and one out of 4 would like to be.  With new tech, it has never been easier and the trend is set to grow.  Self-employment can and does help many women to: • Work flexibly and balance priorities • Break through the glass ceiling • Achieve success and leadership on their own terms
  5. 5. Why policy makers should care… • Electorate – self-employed are 14% of the working population and growing . • Jobs – 85% of jobs lost in the recession were replaced by self-employment. • Tax - This LM shift has significant Tax implications.
  6. 6. As female selfemployment rises – government enterprise investment shifts Growing support for… • Perceived ‘High Growth’ - vast majority are male-led businesses and sectors. • Young enterprise - 2/3 startup loans for under 30’s have gone to men. • ‘Cheerleading’ – for ‘self-starters’ which women are less likely to see themselves as. Cuts to… • Enterprise training – community-based initiatives attract more women. • Women’s initiatives • Welfare to self-employment routes – Universal Credit for the Self-employed is set to squeeze this group much, much more*. *(see
  7. 7. A closer look… Training • People who have taken up entrepreneurship training are three times more confident about having the skills to run a business. (GEM Global 2010). • Most women who use targeted women’s enterprise initiatives do not think mainstream support is for them. • Women are much less confident about their ability to run a business and this is connected to lower levels of human, social and financial capital… training helps to close the gap.
  8. 8. The cost of living squeeze has been much worse for the selfemployed. Implications? DWP research* found self-employment enabled many lowearning businesses to fit work alongside providing care for sick relatives or children or to work around their own poor health. WEETU SROI research found £5.25 return to public purse from each £1 to support a woman into business * u/pubs/pdf/rrep829.pdf Squeezed families and communities Squeezed selfemployed Squeezed tax contribution Despite the rise in selfemployment – total tax revenues from the selfemployed are down – in one year, 2010-11, tax from the selfemployed is down £2.7 billion – the tax take from employees continues to rise. (HMRC Personal Income Stats). We all lose unless this picture is turned around.
  9. 9. Conclusions • Self-employment has to be a key part of any future jobs strategy. • This labour market shift is transferring risk from large companies and the state to individuals. • Income inequality has risen faster in the UK than any other OECD country since 1975. Changes in selfemployment income is the primary factor (OECD*) • It doesn’t need to be like this… Government can and should share the risks – with fair and progressive social insurance and a skills strategy that’s fit for our increasingly flexible economy. *
  10. 10. What we’re doing • Contributing to the policy debate • Launching the Charter for Supporters of Women in Business, early 2014 • Prowess Connect: Campaign & Collaborate Group