by Nick O’Shiel, Omagh Enterprise
The number of people starting their own business and choosing self-employed is growing.
One of the biggest areas of growth is in small and microbusiness: those employing less than 10 people and in many cases just one or two.
The trend looks set to continue as people make the decision to work for themselves and be their own boss.
In recent years, self-employment is most popular amongst young people, women and those over 50, all of which combine to create a new trend different from the traditional middle aged male.
The developments are causing a rethink of what is influencing such change and whether or not it is a temporary post-recession shift or of more long-term significance.
The reasons for the change are challenging, as more flexible work patterns emerge and people make new choices and create new lifestyles for themselves and their families.
There is a general belief that an increase in self-employment is linked to an increase in unemployment, even though many people who have jobs are now choosing to start a business.
Similarly, there is a view that many self-employed people have low skill levels, whereas, people starting their own business often have specialist skills and high-skill levels.
Lastly, there is a belief that an increase in the number of people choosing self-employed is linked to the recession, whereas, the current trend pre-dates the recession and its negative impact on jobs.
So, what is happening and why?
One explanation is that structural changes are taking place in the economy and having an effect on the make-up of jobs and the type of jobs people want.
Such changes include an ageing population, greater numbers of women in the workforce, higher levels of youth unemployment and the desire amongst many people for a better work/life balance.
Technology is also playing a part as the cost of starting a business falls and greater value is placed on the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss.
Regardless of the reasons, it appears change is happening as young and old search for their place in a world that is being reshaped and reinvented.
SO, more people are choosing to start their own business because they want a greater say in what they do and how they do it.