working on sofa

90% of UK self-employed professionals are happier working for themselves than when previously in traditional employment.

Of the 250 self-employed workers surveyed by Markel, the top three things they enjoyed most were freedom in their working life, being their own boss and being able to fit their work around other commitments. Nearly 40% said they miss nothing from the typical working environment, while those that did cited social interaction and outings with colleagues as the most missed aspects of working in a traditional job.

While job satisfaction may be high, they appear to have much less downtime: 18% of respondents spend just one to four hours with family per week, the equivalent of up to 34 minutes per day, while a further 20% see them for less than an hour a week – a maximum of just 9 minutes per day. Additionally, one in four (26%) take less than five days holidays each year.

Of the least enjoyable aspects of being self-employed, unsurprisingly uncertainty topped the list, with 35% citing money as their main worry, followed by job insecurity and lack of structure; all elements that are of less concern to full time workers.

The findings come at a time when, according to a 2015 CIPD report, job satisfaction is down year-on-year in the traditional working environment, being at its lowest for two years. The new survey revealed job satisfaction amongst the self-employed was highest in those aged 45 and over, as well as respondents living in Wales and the South West.

On carrying out the research, Paul Aveyard, digital marketing manager at Markel, said: “Those in full time employment are often considered to be at an advantage compared to the self-employed and those working in the gig economy. But nearly all of the self-employed seem to prefer working for themselves, so much so that a quarter of them take less than five days holiday a year and well over a third spend only up to four hours a week with their family. They seem to really like their work and being their own boss.