The rise in self-employment is mainly due to fewer people leaving self-employment than in the past, according to a new study by the Office for National Statistics.
The study showed that only 23% of those who were self-employed in 2009 had left by 2014. This was much lower than the average outflow rate over the past 20 years, which has hovered between 32% and 37%.
At the same time, the amount of people moving into self-employment has stayed between 36% and 38% over the past 20 years, explaining the sharp rise between 2009 and today.
The fall in people leaving self-employment can be explained by several economic and social factors.
Firstly, more people are continuing to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, with the number of 65s registered as self-employed doubling from 241,000 in 2009, to 428,000 in 2014.
Secondly, the opportunity to work as an employee was severely damaged after the financial crisis, giving the self-employed less opportunity to become employees.
Managerial occupations including roles within property, marketing and finance have seen the largest rise in self-employment over the past five years, with an increase of around 237,000 people.
But the study says that this may be due to single person businesses stating that they are managers, despite not having any staff to manage.
Image by Jason Tester