A self-employer can be defined as a person who finds work on their own and generates income by means other than being employed by a business.
The IRS associates self-employment to:
- A trade or business where the individual is a sole proprietor or an independent contractor.
- The individual is in partnership that carries on a trade or business.
- The individual is in a business for or by him or herself, including a part-time business.
Forbes outlines how self-employment has had its ups and downs in the past seven years.
Since 2006, the most popular self-employment trades have mainly been concentrated in the areas of Personal Care Aide, Photography, Medical Transcription, and Construction Labor.
Conversely, there has been a decline in self-employed occupational titles such as: Tractor Trailer Drivers, Real Estate Sale Agents, and Farmers/Ranchers.
Like any other traditional employment sector (or salaried job), opportunities within areas of self-employment rise and fall as well, especially during an economic downturn.
The United States alone has seen a loss of 936,000 jobs since 2006.
Contrary to popular belief, the self-employment sector is doing better this year than previous years. Forbes also reported that, “10 million individuals, or 6.6% of all reported jobs, were self-employed in the U.S. as of 2013.”
Statistics show that things may be in favor for those who are interested in choosing this particular route.
Brent Rasmussen, the president of CareerBuilder North America, says the reason that individuals are choosing self-employment is pretty self-explanatory:
“Self-employed workers thrive on autonomy. The ability to contract out your expertise or start your own business will often create career flexibility and fulfill personal ambitions.”
However, there has also been a distinct difference between why female and males choose to be self-employed, particularly at an older age.
Assistant Professor Angela Curl of Missouri University’s School of Social Work, conducted a study titled “Gender Differences in Self-Employment of Older Workers in the United States and New Zealand,” which shows how gender plays a major role in the U.S. and New Zealand.
In the school’s February 19 News Release, Curl noted how:
"In both countries, female workers who were self-employed appeared to have fewer economic resources, were less likely to receive pensions and were less likely to have employed spouses. These findings may suggest that older male workers may choose self-employment whereas women may be forced into self-employment because of financial necessity."
Curl also concluded that this route could be a positive impact by allowing older adults to stay in the workforce longer while they generate extra income.
She provides suggestive actions that policymakers could take to make self-employment simpler for older workers.
“American policymakers could reduce barriers to self-employment by offering and promoting small business loans for start-up costs,” Curl said. “If older adults delay claiming Social Security benefits, remain in the labor force and continue paying taxes, some of the pressure on the Social Security retirement system would be reduced.”
Whatever the case may be, it is clear-cut that the rate of self-employment is on the rise between men and women. Whether working circumstances are full-time or used as a second-income, more people are using self-employment in some shape, form, or fashion.