Mar 02

Self-employed see stress levels increase

When it comes to jobs, it seems that more and more of us are leaving traditional types of employment to work for ourselves.

In the last year alone, the number of self-employed people in the UK rose by 133,000 and now account for 15 per cent of the total UK workforce.

With the flexibility of being your own boss and choosing your own hours, it’s easy to see why so many strive towards achieving a better work-life balance.

But is it all as good as it seems?

New research from Scottish Widows’ think tank, the Centre for the Modern Family, shows that it could be this desire for a better work-life balance that is ultimately having a negative impact on family life in the UK. The findings revealed that one in five relatives of a self-employed worker report increased stress levels in their household due to their career choice.

Over half of self-employed people had left traditional jobs in search of greater control and flexibility in their working life, with childcare responsibilities and wanting more time with family as two of the main reasons for turning their back on traditional employment.

However, one in ten say that it’s had an impact on family life as their whole family is under more stress as a result.

Inevitably, money worries play a large role in increasing stress levels, as a result of the financial pressures this working style brings.

According to one of the UK’s leading free debt advice providers PayPlan, financial pressures are a major worry for the self-employed.

PayPlan’s own research found that across the UK, self-employed people under the age of 65 owe on average 36.4 per cent more in personal debt than both employed and unemployed people.

Gavin is a self-employed stone mason from Bury and contacted PayPlan when the recession hit and he found himself out of work for nearly nine months.

Despite now being busy, he understands the worry that self-employed workers face on a daily basis.

He said: “I was living beyond my means and ended up with five or six payday loans. I was just about scraping by.”

Jane Clack, a money adviser at PayPlan, used to run her own business and knows only too well the stress that self-employed workers face.

She said: “Pricing is a huge issue – a lot of self-employed people do not charge the high rates that they should as they lack confidence. Not being paid on time is also a constant worry. Often you find yourself working all hours, which can take its toll on you.”

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