Balancing Precarity and Resilience: The Experience of the Self-Employment During the COVID Pandemic

Daniel, Elizabeth; Henley, Andrew; Lang, Mark and Reuschke, Darja Balancing Precarity and Resilience: The Experience of the Self-Employment During the COVID Pandemic. In: Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 28-29 Oct 2021, Cardiff.

URL: https://isbe.org.uk/isbe-2021/

Abstract

The experience of the self-employed since the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency has emerged as an important topic for analysis. Early projections suggested that the self-employed might be hard hit because of their concentration in sectors most severely affected by lockdowns and social distancing (Henley and Reuschke, 2020), and subsequent analysis of labour force survey data is revealing that, as a result of the pandemic, significant numbers have abandoned self-employment and struggled to find alternative paid work (Slaughter, 2021).

The circumstances of the pandemic have spawned a growing volume of quantitative evaluation of its impact on the self-employed and micro-entrepreneurs for the UK and other countries (for example Fairlie, 2020; Yue and Cowling, 2021; Reuschke et al., 2021). However, theorising the impact of the crisis has been more challenging.

This paper seeks to provide a more nuanced examination of the interplay of various factors across the diversity of the self-employed. This is undertaken through qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 30 self-employed, half in the autumn of 2020 and half in the early spring of 2021. The first time point coincides with the end of the period of relaxation of restrictions and economic recovery during late summer and early autumn; the second time point is during the depth of the third national UK lockdown.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions

Export

About

Recommendations