Indeed, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the vast majority of this increase - 60 per cent - occurred between 2011 and last year.
Furthermore, 84 per cent of the rise since 2008 was in those aged 50 and above, suggesting more people are looking at going it alone after a spell working for a business.
Last year alone, ONS found that the self-employed worked longer hours than other employees, while the highest proportion of self-employed people could be found in London at 18 per cent. The smallest proportion was found in the north-east (11 per cent).
Furthermore, construction was one of the most common occupations for self-employment, along with joiners, farmers and carpenters.
For those who are not self-employed, the year has started positively. Research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, published last week, revealed that more than half of firms are looking to take on more permanent employees this year.
Posted by Thomas Fletcher