Employment and income of self-employed workers2015 Edition
This issue of the “Insee Références” collection offers a new look at self-employed workers, a category united by the absence of a subordination relationship.
Overview of employment and incomes of self-employed persons
In France, 2.8 million people had a self-employed activity as their main employment or in addition to paid employment at end 2011. Farmers, traders, craftspeople and the professionals worked more often than employees in construction, trade and health. From 2006 to 2011, excluding agriculture, the self-employed workforce grew by 26%, and by more in some service activities: management consulting, design, IT, arts and leisure activities and education, in particular. This dynamism is partly explained by the success of the auto-entrepreneur status: at end 2011, 487,000 auto-entrepreneurs were economically active, in other words one in five employees, excluding agriculture. 33% of them had gainful employment in addition to their self-employed activity, compared to 10% of “conventional” self-employed persons. On average, “conventional” self-employed persons earn 3,100 euros net per month. The worst paid sectors were trade excluding shops (in markets, distance selling or through other channels), arts and entertainment, hairdressing, taxis and teaching; at the other end of the scale, average incomes are highest in the legal profession, medicine and the pharmaceutical trade. Auto-entrepreneurs on average earned 460 euros per month, with little difference across sectors. Earned income inequalities were more marked among the self-employed than among private sector employees. Among “conventional” self-employed persons, excluding agriculture and excluding those with no income, the worst paid half only represented 15% of income (compared to 25% for employees), while the 10% highest paid accounted for 41% of income (compared to 33% for employees).