There are more and more workers who start businesses out of necessity rather than vocation. Specifically, 65% of the non-salaried population, that is, two out of every three. Although the percentage is slightly lower than two years ago (70%), it is almost three times higher than in 2019, when the bulk of obligated self-employed workers only reached 25%, according to the Bank of Spain. These are the data collected by the latest survey Job supply and demand in Spain, prepared by Infoempleo and published this Tuesday. The document frames the situation of self-employed workers, a group that is made up of 3,333,617 people in the country, according to the latest data on RETA affiliations, which is equivalent to 16% of the total number of employees.
The survey sheds light on the collective’s chiaroscuros. Two out of three respondents admit that they would prefer to have a full-time job because it would give them more peace of mind. Miguel Vila, spokesperson for the self-employed association UATAE (linked to CC OO), is not surprised by the results. He believes that the precariousness of the sector is driven by companies that hire false self-employed workers to save costs, salaries and Social Security contributions, and cites the branch of riders or home delivery workers as an example. “The problem is more pronounced in women, who turn to the self-employed labor market as a refuge job, with an initial precariousness that is difficult to overcome,” he adds.
Workers specify that high taxation and high administrative burdens are the main obstacle they must face while remaining non-salaried. And they add that the current economic context, the difficulties in obtaining financing and finding clients represent other problems that they now have to face. Last week the European Central Bank raised interest rates again by a quarter point to 4.25%, which has made access to credit more expensive to a new 20-year high.
The results of the study coincide with those of the Barometer of the National Federation of Associations of Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Workers (ATA), published this summer, which highlights that 90% of self-employed workers in Spain increased expenses in their businesses during the last year. A similar report, prepared by the Bank of Spain and published this week, revealed that the majority of businessmen have increased the price of products to compensate for these increases.
Infoempleo’s work also explains that almost 70% of self-employed workers used their own capital to start their business; Almost 28% resorted to bank loans and 22% asked family and friends for money. The UATAE spokesperson believes that self-financing poses a long-term risk because the vast majority of businesses do not end up consolidating. “We must establish a fairer tax system that lowers the requirements for SMEs and micro-SMEs and raises them for large companies,” he specifies. “Otherwise, the fiscal conditions end up condemning entrepreneurs who have tried to civil death,” he explains.
The survey results also reflect the time that self-employed workers spend on their businesses. Almost 36% of workers, the highest percentage, work six days a week. For 32.81%, the day lasts five days and 26.56% confess that their activities take place from Monday to Sunday. Vila comments that the figures are worrying. “Many self-employed workers cannot disconnect a single day in the week because doing so means putting their income at risk,” he concludes.
In the photo of Spanish non-salaried workers there is also more hopeful data: more than half of those surveyed themselves admit that they are happier since they are self-employed. 42.71% of workers answer that the main advantage that their condition gives them is being able to establish their own work schedules; Another 33.85% respond that they enjoy working on what they like most and a smaller number, 28.13%, respond that being self-employed gives them a greater sense of freedom.
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