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Covid and Brexit unearths a nomadic business generation​: highly skilled yet not tied to the businesses of a pre-Covid past

With Covid uncertainty carrying on well in to 2021, and Brexit seeing billions of pounds lost to the EU, job security is at a low for Brits of all ages. Individuals are turning to self-employment or setting up their own businesses, losing their jobs after time on furlough, taking voluntary redundancy or as a form of additional income. This has given rise to a new set of entrepreneurs – the Nomad generation – who work for themselves.

From Q1-Q3 2020, over half a million (566,957) new companies were incorporated on Companies House, up 8.57% on the same period in 2019 (522,199)*, showing that more entrepreneurs are taking the plunge and setting up businesses. ‘Solo’ self-employment is also becoming increasingly more common. In 2020, 14% (4.56 million) of workers were self-employed as sole traders or as company owners with no employees**.

Increasing numbers of people are working for themselves, and this trend is likely to increase in 2021 and beyond. It is expected that we’ll see increased numbers of over-45s taking the plunge and become nomad businesses. With freelance prospects looking good in 2021, this is the perfect opportunity for experienced employees to take the plunge. These workers are half way between being consultants and entrepreneurs – people who want become their own boss, but not anybody else’s.

This community of nomads has been boosted by the working from home provisions put in place by Covid, allowing them to work remotely from anywhere, and become more flexible in their working life.

Justin Small, Founder and CEO of Future Strategy Club comments on the future of freelancing:

“Although the past year has been difficult, many entrepreneurs are seeing the opportunity to become their own boss and launch a business or, at least, the next stage of their career. With the job market in turmoil, the PAYE paycheck is no longer a reliable constant. Instead of starting again at the bottom of a ladder, freelance workers can work for themselves, tap into years’ worth of skills and experience, and gain true security from their own knowledge and skillset. They can take up the jobs that appeal to them and best utilise their skillsets, meaning they have a more fluid and fulfilling approach to their career.

“Freelance talent is also beneficial to firms, who can bring in outside talent on-demand to grow and innovate. The private sector will need flexible workers to ride out the turbulence of a potential no-deal Brexit and further months of Covid confusion.”