32.6 million persons aged 15 to 74 in the European Union (EU) were self-employed in 2018. They accounted for 14% of total employment.
Share of self-employed highest in Greece and Italy
Across the EU Member States, almost one in every three people in employment in Greece was self-employed in 2018 (30%) and around one in five in Italy (22%), Poland (18%) and Romania (17%). These countries were followed by Czechia, the Netherlands and Spain (each 16%), Portugal, Slovakia and the United Kingdom (each 15%).
At the opposite end of the scale, the self- employed accounted for less than 10% of total employment in Denmark and Luxembourg (both 8%) as well as in Germany and Sweden (both 9%).
Most popular careers
The most popular occupations among self-employed workers were under the headings ‘Professionals’ (22%), ‘Service and sales workers’ (16%) and ‘Craft and related trades workers’ (15%). These categories were followed by ‘Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers’ (14%), ‘Technicians and associate professionals’ as well as ‘Managers’ (both 12%). Together these categories accounted for 90% of the total number of self-employed.
Two out of three of the total number of the self-employed were men (68%).
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