Kensington Mortgages has found that confidence among the UK’s self-employed workforce has increased dramatically.
The ‘SentiMeter’ research from Kensington found that self-employed workers were optimistic about their opportunities for work in 2019 and that the overwhelming majority were eager to reap the benefits of the latest technological advances.
Kensington Mortgages surveyed over 1,000 self-employed workers across the UK to analyse their thoughts and concerns for the year ahead. There are currently around 4.85 million self-employed workers in the UK, making up 15% of the workforce, and 81,000 people chose to pursue self-employment over the course of 2018.
Kensington’s research found that 62% of self-employed workers are confident that they will take on more work in 2019, an increase of 15% from last year’s figure of 47%. The unemployment rate among the self-employed is at its lowest level since 1975.
Self-employed workers in the North West felt most confident (69%) that they will increase their workload in 2019. The least confident workers are in Scotland, where 54% felt optimistic about their opportunities for work in 2019.
89% of self-employed workers believe new technology will have a positive impact on their business. Just 11% of respondents think that technology will have a negative effect on their business.
Workers in Wales feel the most positive about the effect that technology will have on their business, with 96% expecting it to be a net positive over the next two years.
By contrast, workers in the North West are the least optimistic when it comes to how technology will impact their business, with 18% believing it will have a negative impact – the highest of any region. Despite this, 82% of workers in the region still feel positive about the impact of technology.
Of those total workers who believe technology will have a positive impact on their business over the next two years, 47% believe new tech will help them make more money, 44% feel it will greatly improve their day-to-day running of the business and 43% believe it will help them attract new business.
Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, said: “Considering wider economic and political uncertainty, it’s refreshing to see such optimism and open-mindedness among the UK’s self-employed workforce. Anyone who is self-employed could tell you that it’s never easy, especially when first starting out. This growing optimism though is a sign of changing times.
“Providing this vital group of the UK economy with the right financing needs to be a priority for the entire industry. Self-employed workers are keen to embrace the latest technology and it’s crucial that lenders do the same. By combining technology, big data and human underwriting, specialist lenders are able to gain a much better picture of self-employed workers and their unique circumstances, which makes it easier for these individuals to get the finance they need.”