By Mathijn Wilkens – Despite the growing debates, self-employment in the EU has in fact not increased in decades, remaining stable at around 15% of the EU labor force. This is largely the result of the shrinking agricultural sector – which traditionally has a high proportion of self-employed – counterbalancing the rise in services.
In terms of their working conditions, the self-employed can be roughly divided into five distinct groups.
On one side of the spectrum we find the types of self-employed that the Europe 2020 strategy seeks to promote – entrepreneurial independent self-employed, often enjoying higher earnings and more autonomy which is reflected in healthier, happier and longer working lives. Two of the five clusters – labelled ‘employers’ and ‘stable own-account workers’ – represent about half of the self-employed. The ‘employers’ are a group of self-employed with employees, while the ‘stable own-account workers’ do not employ any employees. Both groups are more likely to be self-employed out of choice.
The opposite is the case for one in four self-employed labelled ‘vulnerable’ and ‘concealed’ –representing together roughly the size of Austria’s population. more>