The Self-Employed Landscape in 2023

  • The solo self-employed contributed £331 billion to the UK economy in 2023, compared to £278bn in 2022
  • One in four of the solo self-employed have entered self-employment since 2020 – equating to just over 1,000,000 newly self-employed individuals
  • There are now an additional 106,000 solo self-employed individuals operating in the UK compared to last year
  • Over two in five of the solo self-employed (42%) have been operating in this way for over ten years


Tens of thousands more over 50s are now running their own businesses despite an overall decline in self-employment since 2020, new analysis of workforce statistics shows.

The report revealed that the number of self-employed business owners aged 50 and over surged to 1.1 million in 2023 – 89,000 more than in 2020 – despite the total solo self-employed population falling by 154,000 in the same period.

Furthermore, of those aged 50 and over in self-employment, as many as one in six (15%) launched their businesses within the past three years.

Released annually, the IPSE Self-Employed Landscape report provides a snapshot of how the sector’s size, demographics and economic impact have changed in the past year.

The report also found that the sector’s economic contribution soared by more than £50bn in 2023, to a total of £331bn, after declining in 2022.

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The sector continues to be predominantly male, with the gender distribution of the sector standing at 61 per cent male to 39 per cent female, with a one percentage point swing towards female in 2023. This continues a long-term trend towards more women in self-employment, which has grown by 63 per cent since 2008.

Read the full report here

Meet the author

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Joshua Toovey

Senior Research and Policy Officer

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