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Gen Z Self-Employment Rebounds After Post-Pandemic Dip


The number of people in their early twenties running their own businesses part-time has started to rebound since the pandemic, according to new research.

Analysis of Government data by flexible-living brand Gravity Co, found that around 45,000 people aged 20 to 24 in the UK are self-employed part-time, up 14% compared to the same period last year.

Many in this group will be freelancing, aspiring entrepreneurs pursuing passion projects, monetising hobbies through sites like Etsy, and building up their own brands in the digital and social space.

From April 20 to March 21, numbers peaked at 55,600 — an all-time high since records started being collected in 2004 — during the pandemic. During 2020, many people found themselves with extra time to start their own business either because they were furloughed or because they swapped socialising for finding other sources of income.

Number of people aged 20 to 24 in the UK who are self-employed part-time

Apr 2017 to Mar 2018 Apr 2018 to Mar 2019 Apr 2019 to Mar 2020 Apr 2020 to Mar 2021 Apr 2021 to Mar 2022 Apr 2022 to Mar 2023
41,700 47,600 46,900 55,600 39,400 45,000


A recent global study by Kantar found that 40% of Gen Z — which includes those born between 1995 and 2012 — are combining two or more roles[2]. Similar research by Fiverr also found that 40% of Gen Z-ers surveyed said they either want to own a business or freelance for their whole career[3].

There were over 800,000 new start-up businesses in the UK in the tax year ending March 2023, an increase of 6.4% compared with the previous financial year[4].

Many people with their own businesses may be combining it with a part-time or full-time job with an employer or study. The rise in remote and flexible working makes it easier for people to work from home or other locations, and divide their time up in a way that works best for them.

The UK is the fourth most popular country with digital nomads, who work when and where they want to — with many choosing to travel the world[5].

With flexible working practices continuing to increase across the globe, more flexible living arrangements are needed to suit the needs of self-employed Gen Z workers and the digital nomad market, according to Gravity Co.

Gravity Co offers its members a range of contract options, meaning they can choose to live at one of their properties for as little as one month, or opt for a longer 10 to 12-month stay.

Riccardo Tessaro, Co-Founder & CEO of Gravity Co, comments:

“Flexibility has become a big motivator for Gen Zs, and this is particularly the case in their work life.

“Many people are being drawn to jobs that offer some element of remote work, but those in their early twenties are seeking even more independence by running their own business alongside other forms of employment or study.

“This need for a flexible lifestyle is becoming increasingly important to this group of digital nomads who don’t necessarily want to be tied into long contracts for their accommodation.

“To keep up with these trends, accommodation providers will need to be more flexible with the length of their contracts and meet the demands of young people who want to work from home’

“At Gravity Co, providing spaces where our members can work and socialise has been important for building relationships and enabling networking.  It’s just one of the elements of our offering that we’ll be replicating as we expand into continental Europe in 2024”

Business News Wales