22 May 2019: Confidence is high among Scotland’s self-employed workers according to the latest SentiMeter research from Kensington Mortgages. The research found that self-employed workers in Scotland are optimistic about their opportunities for work in 2019 and that they are overwhelmingly eager to reap the benefits of the latest technological advances.
The research comes as Kensington celebrates a successful first year in the Scottish market: Scottish lending forms roughly 5% of the UK market and Kensington have quickly managed to make it a similar share of their business. The latest data from the Scottish government has shown that the number of self-employed in Scotland increased from 247,200 in 2004 to 322,900 by the end of 2017 and self-employed workers now account for 12.3% of all employment in Scotland in 2017.
Kensington’s research revealed that over half (54%) of Scottish self-employed workers are confident that they will take on more work in 2019. This figure has remained largely unchanged since the 53% recorded last year; a sign of the resilience of Scotland’s self-employed workforce in the face of political uncertainty. Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate in Scotland has hit a new low of 3.3% according to the ONS.
Regionally, there is some slight disparity in results. The research found that 58% of self-employed workers in Edinburgh are confident that they will take on more work in 2019 compared to just 50% in Glasgow. These numbers are slightly lower than the 63% of self-employed workers in London who are equally optimistic.
Scotland’s self-employed are also particularly positive when it comes to new technology. Kensington found that the overwhelming majority (88%) of Scottish self-employed workers believe new technology will have a positive impact on their business. Just over one in ten (12%) of respondents think that technology will have a negative effect on their business.
Confidence in the impact technology could have is especially common in Edinburgh; a city that boasts four universities and a large proportion of high-skilled workers. In 2017, 38.6% of all workers in the capital worked in high-skill industries, higher even than the level in London (34.9%). Over 90% of self-employed workers polled in the city said that new technology would have a positive impact on their business.
Of those workers who believe technology will have a positive impact on their business over the next two years, more than half (51%) think new tech will help them make more money, 46% feel it will greatly improve their day-to-day running of the business and over a third (35%) believe it will help them attract new business.
Craig McKinlay, New Business Director, Kensington Mortgages, comments:
“It’s clear from this latest research that self-employed workers in Scotland are tough, resilient and generally optimistic about their future prospects, even in the face of ongoing uncertainty."
“Self-employed workers are an increasingly vital component of the Scottish economy and it’s important that the mortgage industry steps up to meet their financial needs. Since Kensington’s launch into the Scottish market at the start of 2018, we’ve been committed to providing borrowers access to the credit they need, through products that are right for them.”