Over two days in November 2016, top global scholars and industry experts met at Brighton Business School to define the future of self-employment research as part of the annual Global Workshop on Freelancing & Self-Employment Research. Organised by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE), this landmark event featured cutting-edge research with a focus on translating it into policies that support the self-employed.

From the UK to Poland, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, the Netherlands, and as far away as the USA, this year’s workshop was attended by the world’s experts on freelancing and self-employment who shared research that has been motivated and informed by real business practice and public policy. A broad range of perspectives were explored including: motivations of being self-employed; employment status and definitions; welfare support and the role of policy and trade unions; the economic impact of the self-employed, the gig economy and wellbeing. 

You can download a collection of the presentations given at the workshop here. Video interviews and summaries of each presentation will also be published in the CRSE online research library over the coming months.

Despite the geographic spread of the participants and variety of topics discussed, two key themes continued to be raised at the workshop. The first concerns the pertinent debates surrounding the definitions of self-employed workers. The second issue that emerged is the rise of the gig economy and how it is changing the nature of self-employment and work. These are two issues that are currently at the centre of UK public policy, with the government announcing that RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor will undertake a ‘Review of Modern Employment’, and the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee launching an inquiry into ‘Future world of work and rights of workers'.

Central to the CRSE’s mission is to produce research that will inform public policy. To that end, the CRSE used the workshop as a platform to launch a research project into the segmentation of the UK self-employed workforce that will help address the problems for public policy and business practice that have resulted from the advent of the gig economy and the self-employed being misclassified as a homogeneous group. The ensuing report will distinguish between the various types of self-employment, and enable a differentiated policy approach across the various segments.   

A call for proposals for this project will be accepted until 5:00 pm GMT Monday 19th December. For full details on the project 'Segmentation of the UK self-employed workforce' download the Invitation to Bid Project Overview here.

The CRSE would like to thank the presenters of the 2016 Global Workshop on Freelancing & Self-Employment Research:

Alex Metcalfe, Federation of Small Businesses, UK 
Ana Millán, University of Córdoba, Spain
André van Stel, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and Kozminski University, Poland
Andrew Burke, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Anne Annink, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Arjen van Witteloostuijn, Tilburg University, Netherlands
David Cross, University of Bath, UK 
Dieter Bögenhold, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, Austria
Ekaterina Nemkova, University of Nottingham, UK 
Erika Watson, Prowess, UK
Jerzy Cieślik, Kozminski University, Poland 
John Kitching, Kingston University, UK 
Marcus Dejardin, University of Namur and Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium 
Martin Lukeš, University of Economics, Prague
Mike Ribeiro, Middlesex University, UK
Nardo de Vries, Maastricht University, Netherlands
Pascale Peters, Radboud University, Netherlands
Patricia Leighton, IPAG Business School, France and University of South Wales, UK
Peter van der Zwan, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands 
Philip Ross, Great DIGITAL Company, UK
Raquel Justo, University of Huelva, Spain 
Simon Best, Middlesex University, UK
Terri Griffith, Santa Clara University, USA