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Self-employment in 2017

More than 1 in 5 self-employed in the EU had seized a suitable opportunity to run their own business

Ibercampus
In 2017, in the European Union (EU), there were more than 228 million employed people, and about 33 million of them were self-employed. Self-employed people in the EUreported several reasons for becoming self-employed in the current job: suitable opportunity (23%), continuation of the family business (16%), usual practice in the field (15%), flexible work hours (11%), no job found as employee (11%) and request by former employer (2%).

There is a slight difference with regard to reasons to become self-employed reported by male and female selfemployed in the EU. More women than men followed the usual practice in the field (16% of female selfemployed vs 14% male self-employed) and more women than men opted for flexible work hours (14% vs 10%).

As the main difficulties, the self-employed report high administrative burden (13%) and periods of having no customer, no assignments or projects to work on (12%), delayed payments or non-payments (12%), periods of financial hardship (9%), lack of influence on price settings (8%) and lack of income in case of illness (8%).

Almost one third of them reported not facing difficulties (28%). In 2017, in the EU, 77% of the self-employed had two and more clients where none was dominant, 18% of selfemployed people in the EU depended on a dominant client and 4% had no client in the last 12 months.

These selected findings, issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, come from a special data collection from the 2017 European Labour Force Survey ad hoc module on self-employment, presented in a Statistics Explained article.

Of interest

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