$100,000 Salaries, Happiness for Center City’s Self-Employed
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What does the typical self-employed person in Philadelphia look like? If you said they’re likely a millennial earning low wages, you’d be very, very wrong. In fact, the average age of self-employed people in the city is 47, according to a report from the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corp. In Center City it’s 48.
“This is considerably higher than for the workforce as a whole, which has a median age of 33 in Center City and 38 citywide,” the report says. “So, it is not millennials who dominate the world of the self-employed, it is the middle-aged who venture out on their own by building upon networks and relationships they established within the world of ‘traditional’ work.”
Self-employed workers citywide earn an average salary of $53,134 — but in Center City that number is nearly double at $103,384.
Check out this chart showing some characteristics of Philly’s self-employed:
And they’re a happy bunch that’s feeling good about the future. In fact, 73 percent of Philly’s self-employed reported increased business volume within the past year and 77 percent predicted revenues would increase in the next six to 12 months. Only 7 percent reported declining demand and just 3 percent predicted declining revenues in the next six to 12 months.
When asked if they would prefer a traditional, salaried full-time position, 85 percent said ‘no.’
But they aren’t creating many jobs. In fact, half of the respondents said they did not currently support or engage any employees or subcontractors. Those who did, typically have just one or two employees. Just 12 percent said they have five or more workers.
The top industries for Philadelphia’s self-employed are professional and business services, construction, and education and health services. “The list shows the diversity of self-employment — including doctors, lawyers, management consultants, and other professionals, as well as childcare workers, those who operate beauty salons, auto mechanics and landscapers.” says the report.
Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the proportion of workers who are self-employed rose modestly in the recession, but has been slowly waning since. In July 2015, 10.2 percent of the workforce was self employed, virtually the same as it was in January 2000. Philly’s independent workforce has also remained stable at around 30,000 to 35,000 since 2000 — even when salaried employment was trending downward.
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