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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

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