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The third and final chapter of our Families in the Future series focuses on the hopes, dreams and fears of self-employed people.

With 4.77m people in the UK now self-employed, an increase of 133,000 last year many more people are leaving traditional employment in search of a better work life balance. Our latest Centre for the Modern Family research look at the opportunities and challenges of self-employment.

Our Key Findings are:

  • 53% of people became self-employed to choose their own hours, while 46% of women became self-employed to fit their work around their childcare.
  • Many families have said that they find it difficult to switch off from their day job with 20% saying that becoming self-employed has actually increased the stress levels and 19% reporting increased financial worries.
  • 42% of people want to be their own boss, but financial concerns and lack of know how mean only 5% plan to go it alone.

In our report we look deeper into the opportunities and challenges of self-employment to help people reap the rewards without impacting their family life.

Download the report

Our panel also made many recommendations including asking the Government to build on its current financial support to self-employed people by improving the incentive to save for the future. One recommendation would be to make self-employed pension contributions exempt from National Insurance in the same way employer contributions are to encourage saving.

For more information and recommendations read our Self-Employment and the Family Report.


Self-Employment and the Family is the final in a series of three reports to be published by the Scottish Widows’ Centre for the Modern Family, analysing what the future holds for the UK’s families. For more information follow @4modernfamily.


This report is based on both quantitative and qualitative inputs, including a nationally representative YouGov survey of 2,305 adults, with an added boost of 16-18 year olds, interviews and discussions with the Centre for the Modern Family panellists and a series of focus group sessions also conducted by YouGov. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd May and 2nd June 2016.