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News   May 31, 2019   by Renee Montague

Why do people choose to be self-employed? Freedom!

Most Canadian entrepreneurs go down the path of self-employment because they’re looking for financial independence and freedom.

That’s the main take away from a recent study by Statistics Canada that looked at reasons why people choose to be self-employed.

The survey found that just over a third of respondents (33.5%) said they are motivated by the pursuit of career independence and freedom.

About 15% said they are self-employed because it is part of the nature of the careers they chose.

Flexible hours appears to be more important to women (11%) than men (7%), as was work-family balance (15% for women compared to 5% for men).

About 1 in 7 Canadian workers (15%) are currently self-employed. That’s up from about 12% in 1976. The increase in self-employment among women is even greater, jumping to 38% in 2018 from 26% in 1976.

According to Statistics Canada, self-employment is the hallmark of a dynamic and multifaceted economy, with self-employed workers making up a diverse population, with characteristics that have evolved over time along with changes in the broader economy and society.

Professional, scientific and technical services have emerged as the industry with the second highest self-employment rate: 32% in 2018, up from 27% in 1987. Agriculture remains the industry with the highest, albeit declining, share of self-employment: 57% in 2018, down from 68% in 1987.

Provincially, the proportion of self-employed who reported independence and freedom as reasons for choosing this type of work ranged from 29% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 38% in New Brunswick. On the other hand, self-employed workers in Newfoundland and Labrador were more likely to cite “nature of job – had to be self-employed” as the main reason for their self-employment (23%, compared with a national average of 15%).


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