Despite the uncertainty and insecurity that often comes with the endeavour, the study of 5,000 workers in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia found that people who were self employed across a range of industries were more successful in their careers, more engaged with their jobs and more satisfied with their professional contributions.
The research – published in the journal Work, Employment and Society – suggests that this is because of a greater freedom to innovate and a stronger influence on their working environment.
“Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have,” co-author Professor Peter Warr said. “They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.”
“They really get to use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling.
Co-author Professor Ilke Inceoglu said that these findings also have important implications for those working in traditional occupations.
“Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”