Worthing becomes self employment hotspot in the South East
New figures released this week by the Office of National Statistics show that self employment in Worthing has risen dramatically over the past year. Between July 2012 and June 2013 19.3% of all working people in Worthing were recorded as self employed, just over double the national average of 9.5% and an increase of 4000 people compared with the same period a year before. For men the figure is even higher with a record 28.8% of Worthing men in self employment.
Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce CEO Tina Tilley has seen the effects of the increase.
‘We have had a lot of new people joining and have seen an awful lot of new enquiries about start-ups and small businesses’.
‘The diversity is amazing. We’ve recently helped a self employed welder, people who sell antiques. Our food industry is very good and IT is doing very well. We are getting more and more creative people into the area’.
Tina believes there are a number of reasons behind the latest figures.
‘There are a number of people who’ve settled in the area and taken up business in later life. These people often do very well. We are also seeing increasing numbers of people coming to live in Worthing and travel up to see clients in London. Worthing is a lovely place to live by the sea and there are very good transport links to the rest of the country and to Europe’.
While running your own business by the sea may be an attractive lifestyle choice for some, for others it may be declining employment prospects pushing them towards self employment. The ONS figures also show a fall in the number of employees in Worthing over the same period, with 4300 fewer than the year before.
A manager of a local recruitment company said he’s heard of companies creating self employed positions to keep costs low.
‘Self employed sales people often make up their wages to the minimum wage with commission. Some sales companies are doing it more and more and unemployed people are taking these jobs as they feel they don’t have a choice’.
Worthing Citizens Advice Bureau has also seen an increase in people who are interested in self employment. Clare Mannsaker of Worthing CAB said ‘We have seen an increase. Clients have spoken of their frustration caused by being unable to access employment which has real career prospects, or which pays more than the minimum wage’.
While self employment can provide hope and more opportunities in an uncertain job market it can lack security.
A supervisor from Worthing CAB said ‘A young fit person living at home with their parents will probably feel more secure about becoming self employed than someone with family responsibilities. Anyone dependent on benefits may have difficulties if their self employment income is sporadic or unpredictable as their Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Discount may be affected, which may cause them difficulty in paying their rent or mortgage, child care and bills’.
For support and information about self employment in Worthing visit www.centralandsouthsussexcab.org.uk and www.worthingandadurchamber.co.uk
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Natalie Leal .