Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 161–179 | Cite as

Money, Work–Life Balance and Autonomy: Why do IT Professionals Choose Self-Employment?

Article

Abstract

This article deals with the reasons why IT professionals chose self-employment, as well as advantages and drawbacks of this form of employment. A growing number of workers in industrialized countries are now self-employed, most notably in the IT sector. In order to understand this trend better, we carried out a quantitative survey in collaboration with a professional association of independent IT workers in Quebec (Canada). We examined the different reasons why self-employment is attractive for IT professionals, the advantages they experience and the disadvantages they point out. While some authors postulate that self-employment is attractive because it facilitates work–life balance, our results show a strong predominance of the financial advantages and a weak impact of factors related to work–life balance. We also find high levels of job satisfaction, but the effects on work–life balance remain indirect.

Keywords

Self-employment IT professionals 

References

  1. Ang, S., & Slaughter, S. A. (2001). Work outcomes and job design for contract versus permanent information systems professionals on software development teams. MIS Quarterly, 25(3), 321–350. doi:10.2307/3250920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anthias, F., & Mehta, N. (2003). The intersection between gender, the family and self-employment: the family as a resource. International Review of Sociology, 13(1), 105–116. doi:10.1080/0390670032000087014.Google Scholar
  3. Baines, S., & Gelder, U. (2003). What is family friendly about the workplace in the home? the case of self-employed parents and their children. New Technology, Work and Employment, 18(3), 223–234. doi:10.1111/1468-005X.00123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beaucage, A., Laplante, N., & Légaré, R. (2004). Le passage au travail autonome: choix imposé ou choix qui s’impose. relations industrielles. Industrial Relations, 59(2), 345–378.Google Scholar
  5. Blanchflower, D. G. (2000). Self-employment in OECD countries. Labour Economics, 7(5), 471–505. doi:10.1016/S0927-5371(00)00011-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boden Jr., R. J. (1999a). Flexible working hours, family responsibilities, and female self-employment: gender differences in self-employment selection. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 58(1), 71–83. doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.1999.tb03285.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boden Jr., R. J. (1999b). Gender inequality in wage earnings and female self-employment selection. Journal of Socio-Economics, 28(3), 351–364. doi:10.1016/S1053-5357(99)00026-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradley, D. E., & Roberts, J. A. (2004). Self-employment and job satisfaction: investing the role of self-efficacy, depression and seniority. Journal of Small Business Management, 42(1), 37–58. doi:10.1111/j.1540-627X.2004.00096.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burke, A. E., Fitzroy, F. R., & Nolan, M. A. (2002). Self-employment wealth and job creation: the roles of gender, non-pecuniary motivation and entrepreneurial ability. Small Business Economics, 19(3), 255–270. doi:10.1023/A:1019698607772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cappelli, P. (2001). Why is it so hard to find information technology workers? Organizational Dynamics, 30(2), 87–99. doi:10.1016/S0090-2616(01)00045-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christensen, K. E. (1987). Impacts of computer-mediated home based work on women and their families. office. Technology and People, 3, 211–230. doi:10.1108/eb022649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Curran, J., & Blackburn, R. A. (2001). Older people and the enterprise society: age and self-employment propensities. Work, Employment and Society, 15(4), 889–902.Google Scholar
  13. D’Amours, M., Lesemann, F., Dagenais, L. F., Tremblay, D. -G., & Lévesque, B. (2004). Le travail indépendant comme combinaison de formes de travail, de sources de revenus et de protections: étude des conditions pour comprendre les rapports entre travail indépendant et protection sociale. Montréal: INRS-Urbanisation, Culture et Société.Google Scholar
  14. Delage, B. (2002). Résultats de lEnquête sur le travail indépendant au Canada. Ottawa: Développement des ressources humaines Canada (DRHC).Google Scholar
  15. Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2005). Spillover and crossover of exhaustion and life satisfaction among dual-earner parents. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58(1), 266–289. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2004.07.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dennis Jr., W. (1996). Self-employment: when nothing else is available? Journal of Labor Research, 17(4), 645–661. doi:10.1007/BF02685805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DeVaney, S. A., & Kim, H. (2003). Older self-employed workers and planning for the future. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 37(1), 101–120.Google Scholar
  18. Feldman, D. C., & Bolino, M. C. (2000). Career patterns of self-employed: career motivations and career outcomes. Journal of Small Business Management, 38(3), 53–67.Google Scholar
  19. Felstead, A., & Jewson, N. (2000). In home, at work, towards an understanding of homeworking. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Finnie, R., & Laporte, C. (2003). Setting up shop: self-employment among Canadian college and university graduates. relations industrielles. Industrial Relations, 58(1), 3–32.Google Scholar
  21. Galt, V., & Moennig, C. (1996). An analysis of self-employment using UK census of population. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 2(3), 82–88. doi:10.1108/EUM0000000004290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenhaus, J. H., Collins, K. M., & Shaw, J. D. (2003). The relation between work–family balance and quality of life. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 510–531. doi:10.1016/S0001-8791(02)00042-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heilbrunn, S. (2004). Impact of gender on difficulties faced by entrepreneurs. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 5(3), 159–165.Google Scholar
  24. Heller Clain, S. (2000). Gender differences in full-time self-employment. Journal of Economics and Business, 52(1), 499–513. doi:10.1016/S0148-6195(00)00032-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holmes, S., Smith, S., & Cane, G. (1997). Gender issues in home-based business operation and training: an Australian overview. Women in Management Review, 12(2), 68–73. doi:10.1108/09649429710162839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hundley, G. (2001). Why women earn less than men in self-employment. Journal of Labor Research, 22(4), 817–829. doi:10.1007/s12122-001-1054-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kirchoff, B. A. (1996). Self-employment and dynamic capitalism. Journal of Labor Research, 17(4), 627–643. doi:10.1007/BF02685804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kunda, G., Barley, S. R., & Evans, J. A. (2002). Why do contractors contract? the experience of highly skilled technical professionals in a contingent labour market. Industrial and Labor review, 55(2), 234–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Levesque, M., Shepherd, D. A., & Douglas, E. J. (2002). Employment or self-employment: a dynamic utility maximizing model. Journal of Business Venturing, 17(3), 189–210. doi:10.1016/S0883-9026(00)00063-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Loscocco, K. A. (1997). Work–family linkages among self-employed women and men. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50(2), 204–226. doi:10.1006/jvbe.1996.1576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Montgomery, M., Johnson, T., & Faisal, S. (2005). What kind of capital do you need to start a business: financial or human? The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 45, 103–122. doi:10.1016/j.qref.2003.11.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moore, C. S., & Mueller, R. E. (2002). The transition from paid to self-employment in Canada: the importance of push factors. Applied Economics, 34(6), 791–801. doi:10.1080/00036840110058473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Netemeyer, R. G., Boles, J. S., & McMurrian, R. (1996). Development and validation of work–family conflict and family–work conflict scales. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 400–410. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.81.4.400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Noorderhaven, N. G., Thurik, A. R., Wennekers, A. R. M., & van Stel, A. J. (2004). The role of dissatisfaction and per capita income in explaining self-employment across 15 European Countries. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(5), 447–466. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6520.2004.00057.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE). (2003). Statistiques trimestrielles de la population active (3), 1–206.Google Scholar
  36. Parasuraman, S., & Simmers, C. (2001). Type of employment, work–family conflict and well-being: a comparative study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(5), 551–568. doi:10.1002/job.102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parslow, R. A., Jorm, A. F., Christensen, H., Rodgers, B., Strazdins, L., & D’Souza, R. M. (2004). The associations between work stress and mental health: a comparison of organizationally employed and self-employed workers. Work and Stress, 18(3), 231–244. doi:10.1080/14749730412331318649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peel, S., & Inkson, K. (2004). Contracting and careers: choosing between self and organizational employment. Career Development International, 9(6), 542–558. doi:10.1108/13620430410559142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rode, J. C., Rehg, M. T., Near, J. P., & Underhill, J. R. (2007). The effect of work/family conflict on intention to quit: the mediating roles of job and life satisfaction. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2, 65–82. doi:10.1007/s11482-007-9030-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Royal Bank of Canada. (2005). Les femmes entrepreneures sont souvent moins motivées par l’argent que par des priorités personnelles. Retrieved November, 23, 2005, from <http://www.rbc.com/nouvelles/20051123sme.html>
  41. Singh, G., & Verma, A. (2003). Work history and later life labor force participation: evidence from a large telecommunications firm. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 56(4), 699–715. doi:10.2307/3590964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stanworth, C., & Stanworth, J. (1997). Managing an externalised workforce: freelance labour-use in the UK book publishing industry. Industrial Relations Journal, 28(10), 43–55. doi:10.1111/1468-2338.00040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tal, B. (2008). An island of stability. Canadian employment quality index, CIBC world markets.Google Scholar
  44. Tremblay, D. -G. (2003). Telework: a new mode of gendered segmentation? results from a study in Canada. Canadian Journal of Communication, 28(4), 461–478.Google Scholar
  45. Tremblay, D. -G., Chevrier, C., & Di Loreto, M. (2007a). Le travail autonome: une meilleure conciliation entre vie personnelle et vie professionnelle…ou une plus grande interpénétration des temps sociaux? Leisure and Society, 29(1), 191–214.Google Scholar
  46. Tremblay, D. -G., Najem, E., & Paquet, R. (2007b). Le travail et le vieillissement; vers une nouvelle articulation des temps sociaux tout au long du parcours de vie. In D. -G. Tremblay (Ed.),Dune culture de la retraite à un nouveau management des âges et des temps sociaux pp. 65–82. Québec: Presses de l’université du Québec.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V./The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université du Québec à Montréal-TÉLUQMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations