Lecturer, University of St Andrews
Dr Darja Rueschke is a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Her research explores the links between small businesses and entrepreneurship with housing and neighbourhoods and the complex interactions between work life and home life.
Dr Darja Rueschke is a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Her research explores the links between small businesses and entrepreneurship with housing and neighbourhoods and the complex interactions between worklife and homelife. She works mainly with secondary micro data and has a particular expertise in longitudinal data analysis. She has published her work in Regional Studies and Environment and Planning A and she co-edited The Economies of Urban Diversity (2013, Palgrave Macmillan).
Darja has over a decade’s experience in academia, government, and consultancy. She is a lecturer in the School of Geography and Geosciences at the University of St Andrews. She was a Marie Curie Fellow of the European Commission.
First findings on the impact of COVID-19 on self-employment in the UK – evidence from the Understanding Society household survey
Published: 11 August 2020
The self-employed accounted for 15% of the UK workforce in 2019 and many of these worked in sectors particularly at risk in this unprecedent crisis (ONS, 2020a). Compared to most other European countries, the level and previous increase in self-employment in the UK makes for an exceptional case (Hatfield, 2015), and this makes the monitoring of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on self-employment particularly important for UK economic and social policy.
Published: 21 April 2020
In this short paper, we provide a preliminary assessment of the likely impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the self-employed, and in particular, using the most recently available UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey data, we provide an analysis of which groups and where the self-employed are most at risk of significant income loss and therefore household distress.
Because of time-lags in the publication of official labour force and business statistical data, it is still too early for us to assess with any degree of precision the impact of the crisis on the self-employment. Nevertheless, the sudden closure of businesses and tight social distancing restrictions on the movement of people in the attempt to slow down the spread of Covid-19 is having unprecedented effects on employment and businesses activity. Employment and self-employment in non-food personal and domestic services is directly affected since customers are required to stay at home except for essential shopping for food and medical supplies, and where possible work from home, and so no longer permitted to use these services.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies identifies sectors that are directly affected by the lockdown: non-food, non-pharmaceutical retail; passenger transport; accommodation and food; travel; childcare; arts and leisure; personal care and domestic services (Joyce and Hu, 2020). The sector-specific employment risk coincides with specific job and worker characteristics with young people and women being predicted to be hit hardest by the lockdown. Age and gender effects are further associated with low income jobs and part-time workers. Hence, the employment effect of Covid-19 is associated with a stark level of social inequality.
However, predictions about which workers are hardest hit by the crisis (Joyce and Hu, 2020; Kitsos, 2020), included only those in paid employment.
We provide here a corresponding analysis for the self-employed.