At the end of 2021, France will have no less than 3.9 million self-employed workers, according to an INSEE study published on July 18, 2023. Among these workers, we count all those who engage in self-employment activity as a main or secondary activity, as individual entrepreneurs or majority managers of companies (these two situations constitute “classic” self-employed workers) or as micro-entrepreneurs.
“Classic” Self-Employment experienced a slight recovery (+0.5%) after a steady decline since 2014Apart from agriculture sector. in parallel, Micro-entrepreneurs record strong growth (+19% in 2021)which now represents 47% of all non-salaried workers.
Since 2008, the total number of self-employed has increased 1.5 million, an increase of 65% in about 14 years. There has been a significant development in recent years in the self-employment landscape in France.
The health crisis seems to be far behind
For almost all self-employed workers, the health crisis has had a real impact on their average income, which has greatly affected their daily lives. However, after almost 2 difficult years, the economic recovery has allowed a significant jump in his income. In fact, At the end of 2021, income is projected to increase by 9.6% for “classic” non-employees and 12.8% for micro-entrepreneurs. “These changes take into account contribution relief measures, but not extraordinary assistance paid under other assistance schemes, which are not treated as earned income.” INSEE specifies.
In France, in addition to the self-employed working in the agriculture sector (0.4 million), others are mainly concentrated in businesses (26%) or services to individuals (21%), health (16%), trade (16%) and construction (12%), but they are less present in industry (5%) and transport services (5%). outside agriculture, ,The number of self-employed will increase by 8.4% in 2021Already after +4.0% in 2020 and +6.4% in 2019, the increase since 2008 has been +65% (i.e. +1.5 million).INSEE connects.
Focus on “Classic” Self-Employed Workers
Number of “classic non-salaried workers” which brings together individual entrepreneurs or managers of majority companies, It decreased by about 10% between 2013 and 2019 before practically stagnating in 2020. In 2021, they experienced a slight rebound with an increase of 0.5%, thus representing 1.8 million people at the end of 2021 and almost equally divided between individual entrepreneurs (51%) and majority managers of companies (49%). They are mainly concentrated in the health (25%) and professional services (22%) sectors, where their workforce grew by 1.7% in one year.
In 2021, traditional self-employed people show an average earned income of 4,030 euros per month. However, 11% of them declare nil income from the activity (or loss) as they have not earned any profit or paid themselves any remuneration. Although this proportion is slightly lower than the previous year (12%), it is much higher than that recorded in 2019 (8%). Taxis and VTCs register the lowest income with a monthly average of 1,260 euros, followed by non-store retail, education and personal services, which show monthly incomes between 1,560 and 1,600 euros. On the other hand, doctors and dentists are among the highest earning professions with an average of 9,910 euros per month. They are followed by lawyers and accountants, who earn an average of 8,540 euros, and pharmacists, who earn an average of 7,220 euros per month.
Too, In 2021, the average income of traditional self-employed people to increase by 9.6% in constant euros, driven by economic recovery that accelerated in the second half. However, it is still important to note that this increase is partly due to fiscal relief measures (postponements, reductions and exemptions from Social Security contributions), which explains why it is 3.3% higher than 2019 levels. Furthermore, it is important to note that median income is increasing in all regions.
Finally, pay disparities between men and women highlight the key challenges to ensuring balance between the two sexes. In fact, traditional self-employed women receive an average of 19% less (3,510 euros per month, against 4,350 euros) in 2021 than their peers.
Mobility driven by micro enterprises
Micro entrepreneurship plays a major role in the overall development of self-employment. The number of economically active microentrepreneurs registered a significant increase of 18.9% in 2021, after an increase of 10.2% in 2020 and 18.1% in 2019. They now represent almost half of the self-employed in France, i.e. 47% and 1.6 million people. Micro-entrepreneurs are particularly well established in certain sectors, notably personal services, non-store retail trade, and transportation services. However, they are virtually absent from regulated professions that do not qualify for this status, such as lawyers, nurses or doctors.
In 2021, the number of micro entrepreneurs is increasing in almost all sectors. As in 2020, this growth has been particularly observed in the areas of distance selling (+46%) and other postal and courier activities (+39%).
With respect to their average income, it started to rise again in 2021, registering a growth of 12.8% in constant Euros And positive growth in almost all sectors. However, this is significantly lower than traditional non-employees, averaging 630 euros per month, or 6.4 less than them. Looking at the statistics, we understand that micro-entrepreneurship often corresponds to an additional activity. Indeed, at the end of 2021, 30% of microentrepreneurs combine this activity with paid work. In this category of self-employed, women in micro-enterprises earn 100 euros less monthly than their male counterparts (570 versus 670 euros), or -15%.
The emergence of micro-entrepreneurs and the return of traditional non-employees marked self-employment in France in 2021. This dynamic growth underscores the essential role of self-employed workers in the national economy. However, pay inequalities remain between different sectors and between men and women, indicating there is still progress to be made.