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15.1% of self-employed workers in economical dependence and 11.4% in organizational dependence - 2021
Employment statistics
Annual data - 2021
15.1% of self-employed workers in economical dependence and 11.4% in organizational dependence - 2021 Annual data - 2021
23 March 2022


From the total of 687.3 thousand self-employed workers in 2021, 10.1% (69.2 thousand) stated that they had, in the last twelve months, only one client, 3.7% (25.8 thousand) had between 2 to 9 clients, one of which was dominant, and 1.3% (9.1 thousand) had 10 or more clients, one of which was dominant. In other words, 15.1% (104.1 thousand) of self-employed workers had a client which represented 75% or more of their income (after taxes), an indicator of economic dependence.

Of that total of self-employed workers, 72.4% (497.8 thousand) declared that they determine their daily working hours without restrictions, 16.1% (110.9 thousand) that their working hours are determined by circumstances other than their clients (by legal provisions, for example) and 11.4% (78.6 thousand) that it is theirs clients who establish their working hours, an indicator of organizational dependence.

In 2021, a new series of the Labour Force Survey began, introducing some changes to this statistical operation, of which stand out, for the purposes of this Press Release, the modularization of the questionnaire (which now includes questions of different periodicities), the introduction, redefinition and elimination of variables, and the implementation of a subsampling strategy in the estimation of non-quarterly variables.

With this Press Release, Statistics Portugal begins the annual disclosure of some variables with an annual or biennial periodicity, collected through a subsampling strategy. Among those collected in 2021, Statistics Portugal selected two on self-employment – the number and importance of clients and who defines the daily working hours – in order to assess the degree of independence of this type of work.

Press release
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