More than a fifth of self-employed people in the Europe Union, 23%, are so because they found a “suitable opportunity,” according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Self-employed workers can be sole proprietors, independent contractors or consultants, according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ lexicon. The Eurostat report, released Tuesday, is based on 2017 data.

Other reasons for becoming self-employed:

  • Wanted to start for other reasons, 18%
  • Continued the family business, 16%
  • Usual practice in the field, 15%
  • Flexible working hours, 11%
  • No job found as employee, 11%
  • Did not want it, but started for other reasons, 5%
  • Requested by former employer, 2%

The report also found that 77% of the self-employed had two or more clients and none were dominant, 18% depended on a dominant client and 4% had no clients.

However, difficulties reported by the self-employed include administrative burden, cited by 13%; having no projects to work on, 12%; delayed payments or nonpayment, 12%; periods of financial hardship, 9%; lack of influence on price, 8%; and lack of income in case of illness, 8%.

Eurostat’s data included the UK, which is on track to leave the EU in March.

However, a new rule in the UK under legislation called “IR35” is raising uncertainty among freelancers in that country. The new rule has been postponed to April 2020, but would require staffing buyers to determine whether a worker operating on his or her own through a personal services company should be have taxes withheld the same as an employee.

A freelancer confidence index maintained by the UK’s Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, decreased by 3.5% in the third quarter. IR35 was partly to blame, according to a report from the organization. The third quarter saw a 5.3% increase; however, it fell 3.9% in the first quarter.

IPSE’s report also found that weighted average day rates charged by freelancers fell to £392 in the third quarter from £394 in the second.

The UK is also going through Brexit, which is expected to affect its contingent workforce there.

“Now, as we prepare for a new post-Brexit Britain, the government should be boosting the economy and ensuring it is firing on all cylinders,” said Suneeta Johal, IPSE’s head of research, education and training. “Instead, its budget measures are driving one of our most productive sectors into decline. Unless the government wants confidence — and performance — across the freelance sector to drop further, it must scrap the plan to extend the changes to IR35 into the private sector and secure a Brexit deal that works for the self-employed.”

UK leaders were set to vote on a Brexit deal on Tuesday, but the vote was delayed amid concerns it did not have enough support in parliament.