The Boom of Over 50s in Freelance: Defying the Decline

The world of work is always changing, especially with the ever increasing advancements in technology. Recently, something intriguing is happening: more and more people over the age of 50 are becoming their own bosses. This trend, shown by research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), tells us a lot about how the world of work is changing. This proves to be even more significant as from 2020-2023 there has been a large decrease in the overall number of self-employed people. 

IPSE’s research found that the number of self-employed business owners aged 50 and over increased to 1.1 million in 2023 – 89,000 more than in 2020. This increase is a swing in the opposite direction compared to the 154,000 decrease for self-employed people during the same time period.

Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s Director of Policy, says that independence and freedom are big reasons why older people are turning to self-employment. He explains, “‘It’s clear that self-employment’s offer of independence and autonomy in work are particularly attractive to experienced professionals, especially if they have lost an employed role or have become disillusioned with the nine-to-five.” For many, being their own boss means they can work on their own terms, without the constraints of a regular job.

Moreover, a good number of over 50s who are self-employed started their businesses in the last three years. Chamberlain points out, “the over 50s, now in the prime of their careers and with decades of experience under their belt, likely have even more confidence in their ability to make a success of it” These individuals are using their years of experience and knowledge to create new opportunities for themselves.

The trend of older people starting their own businesses reflects broader changes in society. As people live longer and retire later, they see their later years as a time to try new things. Chamberlain adds, “Many harbour dreams of starting their own business, whether it’s to pursue a lifelong dream, increase their income or find a better work-life balance..”. This is also an opportunity for them to try remote work, having more time for their family and friends.

In summary, the increasing number of 50s starting their own businesses shows how people are adapting to changes in the workforce. With their experience and industry knowledge over 50’s are proving that success knows no age limit.  

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