Canada’s Great Transition: 30% of Traditionally-Employed Canadians Expecting to Make the Jump to Self-Employment in the Next Two Years

Toronto, CANADA, Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, FreshBooks, a leading cloud accounting software, launched its inaugural Canadian Self-Employment Report. The report uncovered that 30% of traditionally-employed Canadian professionals expect to transition to self-employment, projecting an estimated 7 million Canadians expect to start their own business, freelance or become self-employed in the next two years.


FreshBooks’ Canadian Self-Employment Report analyses data collected online from a representative sample of more than 3,000 self-employed and traditionally-employed professionals from across Canada. The report provides an insightful comparison between the two audience groups to uncover the motivators and detractors for self-employment, including career satisfaction and financial obstacles. The report’s data can be split by gender, age, ethnicity and region. 


“Canada is in a great transition as our workforce rethinks what meaningful employment looks like,” said Paul Cowan, Chief Marketing Officer at FreshBooks. “The road to self-employment isn’t easy, but our report reveals it’s becoming increasingly appealing to many.  As a Canadian-founded global company with proud start-up roots, it’s important to us to uncover these  trends and pain points to better support Canadians who want to start their own business.” 


Other key findings in the study include:


  • 70% of self-employed Canadians say they are satisfied with their career, compared to 60% of traditionally-employed Canadians. 
  • Self-employment is a goal, not the last resort for many, with 87% of traditionally-employed Canadians saying they will end up self-employed because they want to be, not because they need to be.
  • Nearly 2 million Canadians are already supplementing full-time employment with side hustles.
  • COVID-19 influenced Canadians’ interest in becoming self-employed, with four out of five traditionally-employed people considering or expecting self-employment saying that COVID-19 is a factor in their decision. 
  • Access to capital is one of the biggest barriers to making a move to self-employment for young people, with nearly 30% of traditionally-employed Canadians under 35 saying “access to capital” was an obstacle.
  • Visible minorities have a propensity toward entrepreneurship, with 46% anticipating a move to self-employment in the next five years.

The Women in the Workforce section of the report uncovers trends and insights specific to traditionally-employed and self-employed women. FreshBooks’ data shows that women face more barriers and obstacles to self-employment when compared to men. This includes access to capital, where 34% of women highlighted it as a barrier to self-employment, compared to 20% of men.


FreshBooks is no stranger to tracking and addressing concerns faced by small business owners. In July 2021, FreshBooks entered into a data-sharing partnership with the Ontario government to support timely and impactful decision-making and policy development for small business owners. Additionally, FreshBooks hosts #YourVoice government roundtables to connect Canadian small business owners to government officials who can enact change within the government. 


Since 2004, FreshBooks has helped more than 30 million people, establishing itself as one of the leading accounting platforms for small businesses. To shed light on the experiences of those who work for themselves, FreshBooks’ produces a series of research reports in its Research and Data Reports Library. The Canadian Self-Employment Report is the first report of its kind to focus solely on the Canadian market and can be found here. 


Survey Methodology

FreshBooks conducted research for this report in collaboration with Dynata. More than 3,000 people who work full time—either as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners—were surveyed online in August and September of 2021. Samples have been weighted (as required) to reflect various characteristics of their target populations (e.g., age, gender and industry) leveraging data from Statistics Canada, the NAICS Association and other sources. The study’s margin of error is +/- 2.5% at 95% confidence.


About FreshBooks

FreshBooks is changing the way business owners manage their books. Its owner-first accounting platform, loved by businesses in over 160 countries, takes an easy-to-use approach to managing finances, billing, payments, and client engagement. FreshBooks, known for its 10x Stevie award winning customer support, serves customers of all sizes from offices in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, and the US.



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