9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN26 Sociology of Social Policy

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Exploring Social Policy Reforms: Employment, Activation and Beyond Building II, Auditório C1.04

Unemployed people towards self-employment: between need and opportunity

In a context of increasing unemployment, many people find in the self-employment an alternative to the salaried work. This tendency has been stimulated by the new generation of social policies and by non-governmental programs against poverty.

Based on a study which originated the book "Microempreendedorismo em Portugal: experiências e perspectivas" (Portela et al, 2008), the present communication intends to show that self-employment by unemployed people is a complex reality, particularly in what concerns their motivations.

In that study, very different situations were detected such as: a) people who decide to start a business because they don?t have any hope to return to the salaried work (usually in cases of older workers; b) people who decide to start a business to keep an occupation until getting a new salaried work (usually in cases of younger workers with high qualifications); c) people who decide to start a business because of the incapacity to reconcile the salaried work with the family life (usually in cases of women with a high number of children); d) people who decide to start a business because they always wanted it and see on the loss of salaried work the opportunity to do it (usually in cases of persons who had a leader charge in the last salaried work); e) people who decide to start a business because they want more satisfaction and autonomy in work (usually in cases of persons who had been victims of moral siege).

Different motivations to self-employment are associated with different patterns of resources. For example, people who create their own job as a way to run away from the unemployment situation, probably haven't a consolidate range of ideas and strategies as someone who achieves in unemployment situation an opportunity to carry out an old dream and for a long time was planning to do it.

We can say that different starting points involve different rhythms as well as different arrival points. As a result, in the present communication it is stated that the policies towards self-employment should be flexible. Their efficacy will depend on their ability of adaptation to many different "clients".