06/02/2013 06:15 GMT | Updated 06/02/2013 07:31 GMT

Self Employed Figures Are Highest Since 2008 - Cab Driver Is Top Job And London Top Location

Figures from the Office of National Statistics have confirmed that more people are self employed today than at any time since the start of the recession.

The number of workers who are self-employed in their main job rose 367,000 between 2008, the start of the economic downturn, and 2012.

The most popular occupations for self-employment are taxi or cab drivers (166,000), 'other construction trades' jobs (161,000), carpenters and joiners (140,000) and farmers (123,000). They're also more likely to be male and older - averaging at 47 years old, compared to 40 for employees.

Some 58% of self-employed people used their home for work purposes to some extent, either working there (15%), using it as a base (38%) or working on the same grounds or building as their home (5%).

self employed figures

The biggest increase has come since 2011 - of the 367,000 increase in self-employment, 60% moved into self employment between 2011 and 2012. By contrast, the number of employees, which fell 434,000 between 2008 and 2012, dropped mainly at the beginning of the period, with a drop of 600,000 between 2008 and 2009, and a partial recovery since 2010.

The rise in self employed people occurred across the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland, which saw a decrease. The ONS's report also shows self-employed people work longer hours than regular employees – on average 38 hours a week compared with 36 for employees.

Most self employed people live in London (18%), followed by the south west (16%), while the lowest proportion was in the north east (11%), followed by Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber (both 12%).

A full run down of the statistics can be seen in the video above and the infographic below

self employed figures