Independent workers: the upturn that commenced during the 2000s continues in 2016
In 2016, there were 3.1 million independent workers. Following a decades-long downturn, their numbers have been increasing since the mid-2000s, primarily within the service industries. The establishment of the self-employed entrepreneur scheme, which began in 2009, is fuelling this growth. As at the end of 2016, there are 860,000 active micro-entrepreneurs. Their earnings are low compared with those achieved by “conventional” independent workers, particularly in the liberal professions. Independent workers play a more central role in the more traditional employment sectors, such as agriculture and tourism. The difficulty in accessing core areas of business can also be linked to the maintenance or establishment of independent structures.