More people than ever are turning away from traditional "9 to 5" roles in favour of more flexible and independent ways of working, according to a new report by notonthehighstreet.com and Oxford Economics.
The report said this flexible working is especially prominent in Yorkshire and the Humber, where 9,000 small creative businesses employ 13,000 people, contributing over £250m to the economy.
The report noted a 50 per cent increase in self-employed women and said Yorkshire is leading the charge with a 3 per cent increase in female labour force participation over the last ten years, making Yorkshire one of the UK’s highest regions of growth.
The movement towards creative entrepreneurship has contributed to a 27 per cent increase in self-employment over the last 10 years, bringing current numbers of self-employed workers to 4.8m.
Simon Belsham, CEO of notonthehighstreet.com, said: “In the last 10 years, thousands of small creative businesses have emerged throughout the UK, with nearly 9,000 making their home in Yorkshire and the Humber, creating jobs, driving wealth creation and contributing significantly to the overall UK economy.
"These businesses are highlighting the huge change underway in the UK workforce; a transformation that is seeing more women in work and more people turning to self-employment and flexible working as they shun the traditional 9 to 5 model.”
There are now 134,000 small creative businesses in the UK, employing 192,000 people and contributing £3.6bn gross value added to the UK economy. One in 40 UK businesses is a small creative business.
The report said a creative attitude to work has also emerged. Over the last 10 years, more and more people are finding their own way to make work "work" for them.
They are seeking choice and freedom and thousands are building successful businesses and setting their own work/life agendas as a result. With a record number of two-parent working households, which now stands at 3.6m, people want more flexibility.
The findings of the report reveal that two thirds of creative entrepreneurs are benefiting from greater flexibility and freedom, with nearly half citing this as the main motivation for starting their own business. 95 per cent of those surveyed feel a greater sense of achievement and 90 per cent enjoy life more and feel happier as a result of starting their own business.
Notonthehighstreet.com said the shift to a different way of working is particularly empowering female entrepreneurs and parents with children living at home.
One in ten of the notonthehighstreet.com partners said that starting their own business was their ticket back into the world of work after a period of unpaid leave to care for young children.
This movement is happening nationwide with small creative businesses driving prosperity and economic growth in every single region of the UK.
After struggling to get back into work after having children, Ilkley-based Dani Bolser said that the options available didn’t allow her "to be Mum first".
She said a traditional full-time job would have involved her working all hours, arriving early or working late, which presented problems for picking up her children from school.
With part-time work not proving financially viable, Ms Bolser founded Deluxe Blooms, which specialises in silk flower arrangements.
“My husband encouraged me to take the plunge and put my skills to use and be my own boss," said Ms Bolser.
"I've always been creative and had a passion for flowers. By selecting the finest faux flowers around and using my artistic flair, I've created some wonderful floral designs for people to enjoy all year round and I really enjoy it. I get to be creative, earn money and still do the school run.”