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News 29.10.2014

One-fifth of self-employed persons without employees became entrepreneurs forced by circumstances

There are three different ways to become self-employed without employees. Approximately 40 per cent of self-employed persons without employees are clearly entrepreneurial driven: they have chosen to work as an entrepreneur of their own free will. Around one-fifth of self-employed persons without employees have become entrepreneurs forced by circumstances, for example, due to lack of paid work. For the remaining some 40 per cent, coincidence has played an important role in becoming an entrepreneur – they can be described with the words "fallen into and seized the opportunity".

There are clear differences between occupational groups in becoming an entrepreneur without employees. One-third of self-employed persons without employees working in cultural occupations and handicrafts have become entrepreneurs forced by circumstances. Among information technology professionals only one in ten has this type of background. These data derive from Statistics Finland's Self-employed without employees 2013 study.

Three paths to becoming an entrepreneur: self-employed persons by gender and occupational group

Source: Self-employed without employees 2013. Statistics Finland

In 2013, there were altogether 152,000 self-employed without employees aged 15 to 64 in Finland and their share of all employed persons was six per cent. Sole entrepreneurs, own-account workers, freelancers and grant recipients are included in self-employed without employees.

Work engagement keeps people working beyond retirement age

Work engagement is strong for self-employed persons without employees. Over one-half say that they are excited about their work, while among wage and salary earners this share is good one-third. Of all self-employed persons without employees, 43 per cent feel strong and energetic at work, while the corresponding share for wage and salary earners is 28 per cent.

Work engagement of self-employed persons and wage and salary earners
Totally true

Source: Self-employed without employees 2013 and Quality of Work Life Survey 2013. Statistics Finland

Excitement about work is also visible as a willingness to continue working even after the retirement age. Over one-half of persons working in cultural occupations and handicrafts want to continue working after the retirement age because they like their work. Also among information technology professionals one in two feel this way, and of all self-employed persons without employees around 40 per cent. One in ten self-employed without employees do, however, believe that continuing working even after the retirement age is a financial necessity.

Uncertain livelihood stresses

A majority, or 62 per cent of self-employed persons without employees feel that their economic situation is fully or somewhat stable and secure. On the other hand, nearly four in ten consider their financial situation to be slightly or very uncertain. Men feel their financial situation is secure somewhat more often than women.

The uncertain financial situation causes stress. More than four in ten self-employed persons without employees are constantly concerned about the sufficiency of work. Among persons working in cultural occupations and handicrafts the share is clearly higher than for others. In addition, nearly one-third of self-employed persons without employees said that their income varies much from one month to another.

Is constantly concerned about sufficiency of work
Totally true or somewhat true
Self-employed without employees by gender and occupational group

Source: Self-employed without employees 2013. Statistics Finland

Approximately one-half of self-employed persons without employees feel that it is hard to understand what social security benefits belong to the entrepreneur. Not many are either familiar with the levels of various social security benefits, e.g. their sickness allowance.

First extensive study on self-employed persons without employees

The report published by Statistics Finland on Self-employed without employees in Finland 2013 is based on a large interview survey, which is the first extensive study on persons working as sole entrepreneurs or like entrepreneurs. The report examines questions related to the labour market position, working conditions, livelihood and social security of self-employed persons without employees. The publication is only available in Finnish.

The study was financed by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Statistics Finland.

Self-employed without employees in Finland 2013. Statistics Finland. Price EUR 48. The publication can be ordered from the customer service of Edita Publishing Oy, tel. +358 20 450 05 or from Edita's NetMarket online store

Additional information: Senior Researcher Anna Pärnänen tel. +358 29 551 3795, Senior Researcher Hanna Sutela tel. +358 29 551 2907