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Self-employment 2017

The data provided in this publication is extracted from a Labour Force Survey (LFS) ad hoc module carried out during 2017. The LFS is a household based survey and is used as a monitoring tool across the European Union for assessing progress made in various spheres of labour market and social statistics.

The EU-LFS regulation (EC) No 577/98[1] together with Commission Implementing Regulation EU 2016/8[2] was the legal framework on which the collection of data on self-employment took place.

This publication presents a snapshot of self-employed persons and identifies their economic situation including the type of employment, working hours, occupation and economic activity. Information regarding job satisfaction and autonomy at the place of work for both employees and self-employed persons is also provided. The target group for this ad hoc module was employed persons aged 15 and over.

Key facts:
  • In 2017, self-employed persons were estimated at 33,648 of which 22,814 did not have any employees.
  • On average, full-time self-employed worked 46.4 hours per week while part-timers worked 24.4 hours per week.
  • The majority of self-employed worked mostly as service and sales workers (26.7 per cent), craft and related trade workers (22.5 per cent) and managers (14.6 per cent).
  • Nearly 80 per cent of all self-employed persons had more than 9 clients in the preceding 12 months and the majority had no dominant clients.
  • Most of the self-employed opted to have this type of professional status after a suitable work opportunity presented itself (11,209 persons). A further 6,632 persons stated it was the usual practice in their field of work to become self-employed, whereas 6,566 persons continued their family business.
  • In most cases, own account workers chose not to have employees due to the market conditions including insufficient amount of work (44.1 per cent).
  • One in every four self-employed persons worked with a co-owner and/or in a network with other self-employed (24.5 per cent).
  • In 2017, nearly 23 per cent of the self-employed were considering hiring more workers on a permanent or temporary basis or making use of subcontractors.
  • In general, self-employed persons had influence over both the content and the order of their daily tasks (85.0 per cent).
  • Overall, both employees and self-employed were not willing to change their current professional status (86.3 per cent).
  • Almost a third of the self-employed lived in the Northern Harbour district (32.5 per cent) followed by a further 22.9 per cent in the Northern district.
  • Most of the self-employed remained within their district of residence for employment purposes.

All figures used in this release can be found in Tables​.

Click here​ to access the full document. 

[1]     Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community

[2]     Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/8 of 5 January 2016 specifying the technical characteristics of the 2017 ad hoc module on self-employment


​The Labour Force ad hoc module for 2017 has been partially funded by the European Union