Recommendations for industry and Government on improving the quality of self-employed work in the UK.

This report seeks to address the question ‘what makes for good self-employment’? Building on the wider debate about good work – sparked by the publication of the 2017 Taylor Review of Modern Employment Practices – we set out to uncover what exactly makes for good work for the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed. Asking the self-employed directly for their views, we identified four key factors that determine the quality of their work.

Some of this, as with regular employment, is obviously down to having an adequately paid job, and we devote the first chapter to pay. However, while ensuring a minimum decent level of pay is an essential prerequisite for good self-employment, "we often underestimate the importance of non-pay factors for self-employed people's satisfaction with life." Autonomy, meaningful work, flexibility and work-life balance are things which can be equally important, particularly once incomes rise above a certain level.

The remainder of this report is therefore devoted to the three other main factors our research identified as important to the self-employed experience. These are: the quality of the relationships self-employed people have with their clients, their work-life balance and the degree to which they can improve their skills and enjoy a sense of progress and purpose through their work. We believe each of these to be just as important as pay - if not more so - in determining overall wellbeing.

The report concludes with a set of 10 overarching principles of good self-employment, and a set of recommendations for industry and Government on improving the quality of self-employed work in the UK.

Click here to download a copy of the report.