UK households spend on average over £4,000 each year on a network of up to 15 self-employed people, according to new research from Kensington, the specialist lender.
Households are typically spending £626 on lawyers and £235 on cleaners each year (figure 1) and this ‘selfie workforce’ is collectively costing UK households around £107.6 billion each year.
This trend looks set to continue as the faster pace of life makes society ever more reliant on those offering these services, who in turn are seeking a more flexible way to work.
The findings highlight the importance of decorators, beauticians, plumbers, electricians, gardeners and cleaners in keeping the wheels of the UK economy moving and partly explain why this element of the workforce has doubled in forty years.
Indeed, recent data shows that out of the 4.6 million people registered as self-employed between April-June 2014, 36% or 1.7 million have been self-employed since 2009.
However, Kensington is warning that this growing ‘selfie workforce’ is not well served by the financial services industry. After 18 months of consecutive house price rises in London and the South-East of England, many self-employed people could be forced to move further away from the markets they are trying to serve.
Keith Street, Head of Kensington, says:
“Self-employed people are overlooked as key workers. Whilst they may not perform crucial life-saving roles, they are essential to the smooth-running of many house-holds across the UK from accounting to cleaning or child care. But they are being squeezed by a rapidly rising housing market and many mainstream lenders that use rigid automated systems to make their decisions."
Figure 1. Self-employed services used:
Source: Kensington Mortgages, September 2014