The Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE) is calling for researchers to respond to a bid for a research project that will help to identify different segments of the self-employed workforce in the UK and quantify how many exist in each category. 

It is intended that this project will provide a definitive framework to segment the self-employed labour market in order to address, or go some way in ameliorating policy concerns in the UK. It is also planned to be used as a guide for other countries wishing to distinguish different forms of employment in their own workforces. 

For full details on the project 'Segmentation of the UK self-employed workforce' download the Invitation to Bid Project Overview here.

Aim of the research 

The aim of the segmentation research is to overcome the problems for public policy and business practice that have resulted from the self-employed being categorised as a homogeneous group. Self-employment is at the centre of UK public policy, with the government recently announcing that RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor will undertake a ‘Review of Modern Employment’, which will have a significant focus on self-employment.  

At present, two of the most pressing problems relate to the debates concerning false self-employment and vulnerable temporary contract workers.  Without clear definitions of these workers there is the danger that fiscal authorities will use a broad-brush approach to the taxation and treatment of the self-employed that will undermine genuine professional self-employment. Likewise, attempts to give vulnerable contract workers, who are most likely unskilled, the same contractual terms as employees will weaken the value add that the more highly skilled self-employed professionals can generate in the economy.

Therefore, this project seeks to gain a better understanding of the different segments of the self-employed workforce in order to:

  • Provide a demarcation between genuine and false self-employment for fiscal authorities; 
  • Clearly differentiate vulnerable from privileged self-employment from the perspective of individual welfare (income, work security, work/life balance and personal fulfilment); 
  • Be able to differentiate between self-employed workers on the basis of the value they provide to the economy; 
  • Illustrate how the how the gig economy is changing the nature of self-employment and how this new form of employment fits in; and 
  • As far as is feasible, we are interested in identifying the average earnings of each segment and the population within each. 

Providing clarity in these areas will enable a differentiated policy approach across the various segments of the self-employed labour force. It means that policymakers will be able to provide the appropriate support to those who need it, whilst at the same time enabling those who are driving the economy.  


Delivery of an industry/public policy report accessible to the general public and policymakers, which includes: 

  • Introduction
  • Summary 
  • Chapters describing each segment identified from the research  
  • Chapters addressing key issues and recommendations for further research and policies

Project timeline 

  • Proposal/response to bid deadline: 19 Dec 2016
  • Successful researcher/research team notified: 13 Jan 2017
  • Deliver first draft of report: 7 April 2017
  • Deliver final version of report: 5 May 2017
  • Launch report with coordinated press activities: End of May 2017


There is a budget of £20,000-£25,000 (excluding VAT) to commission a researcher (or research team) to deliver the report.

Submission guidelines

Please refer to the Invitation to Bid Project Overview for the submission gudelines, and submit a short proposal by 5:00 pm (GMT) 19th December 2016, to Kayte Jenkins at