South West is the UK’s Self-employment growth capital

South West is the UK’s Self-employment growth capital

According to our latest research*, the South West of England is the UK’s self-employment growth capital despite the drop in the number of people working for themselves.

Up to 40,000 more workers turned to self-employment in the South West taking the total to 438,000 in the region – a 10% increase on the past year, according to the most recent Government data.

Just three other regions – Wales, Northern Ireland, and London – recorded increases in the number of self-employed in the past year. London has the most self-employed people at 757,000 out of the UK total of 4.243 million.

The numbers of self-employed people fell in every other region with the North East of England recording the biggest drop in numbers at 14% followed by the North West which saw a 6% decline. Across the UK the number of self-employed people fell by just 1%.

We believe a key reason for the drop in the numbers of self-employed is people returning to full-time employment to benefit from the safety of employer-funded pensions. Our recent research** shows one in six (16%) people who stopped pension saving entirely or who reduced contributions last year did so because of a change in their employment status.

Our analysis shows men are more likely to have stopped working for themselves – currently around 2.728 million men are self-employed which is nearly 4% lower than a year ago while the number of self-employed women at 1.515 million is up 1%.

Here at iSIPP, we help UK and international customers to consolidate their pensions and enable customers to sign up easily at with access to regular and ad-hoc contributions. Our service is particularly suited to the self-employed or those who have become self-employed recently as they can combine all their existing pensions and continue contributing whilst in control of their savings.

The table below shows the changes in the numbers of self-employed people across the UK.


iSIPP Managing Director Hrishi Kulkarni said: “Self-employment is going strong in the South West with the region recording a 10% increase in the number of people working for themselves despite the overall decline across the UK.

“While many value the freedom of working for themselves there are clearly benefits from working for an employer and a company pension scheme is a major attraction.

“People who have chosen the self-employed path should look to continue their pension contributions once they stop working for an employer. A previous iSIPP survey*** has found that 44% of self-employed do not contribute regularly to a pension, putting them at risk of having insufficient funds at retirement. Both self-employed as well as those who have gone back to full time employment should also consider combining any existing pensions as consolidation could substantially save money and help increase the funds available to them at retirement. iSIPP makes it easy to combine pensions, make contributions and gives you control over your investments.”

Our free to set up service has no dealing charges or charges to transfer in existing pension funds and enables clients to create their own investment portfolio complementing our existing ‘Choice’ range of Ready-Made funds from world-leading fund managers BlackRock and Schroders.

Our digital pension consolidation service is available to all customers with UK pension funds who are working or have worked in the UK. Built around flexibility, iSIPP provides access to over 100 funds under our ‘Create’ option allowing users to build their own portfolio.

Our ‘Choice’ range include Ready-Made Portfolios from world-leading fund managers BlackRock and Schroders. BlackRock’s multi-asset, risk-managed MyMap range of funds are available which include an ESG fund and iSIPP also provides access to the Schroders’s Shariah compliant fund. Focusing on transparency, our annual trust fee is £200 plus a 0.25% platform services fee. Funds with OCF (Ongoing Charges Figure) start at as low as 0.16%.


*Source here.

** Study conducted by independent research company Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18-plus between January 10th and 13th 2023 using an online methodology.

***Previous iSIPP study.




The content of this article is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or taxation advice. You should not rely on the information contained in this article as legal, financial or taxation advice. The content of this article is based on information currently available to us, and the current laws in force in the UK. The content does not take account of individual circumstances and may not reflect recent changes in the law since the date it was created. It is essential that detailed financial and tax advice should be sought in both jurisdictions and any legal advice, if required.

This notice cannot disclose all the risks associated with the products we make available to you. When making your own investment decisions it is important you understand that all investments can fall as well as rise in value and it is possible you may get back less than what you have paid in. You should also be satisfied that any investments you choose are suitable for you in the light of your circumstances and financial position. You should seek financial advice if you are not sure of what’s best for your situation.


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