In all sectors of business, companies need to bring contractors with specialist skills on board. There are lots of benefits of becoming a contractor, including working on specialist projects nationally and internationally, flexibility and higher rates of pay.
But of course, switching from the security and stability of a salaried role to working for clients on a contract basis is a significant decision. Let’s explore some of the reasons why independent professionals are particularly in demand right now.
It’s clear that being able to work in a specialised field where skills are in high demand can pay off. Many companies are willing to pay a higher premium for flexible talent - specialist skills or key strategic expertise they don’t have - particularly if projects call for a fast turnaround.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) recently researched UK businesses that use contractors to fix their resourcing challenges, and found that:
Although employers’ confidence in UK economic prospects is currently low, it appears that in times of Brexit uncertainty contractors and external specialists are viewed as a valuable resource.
According to recent REC Jobs Outlook data, 47% of companies that engage freelancers and contractors describe agency workers as important – up from 38% since the previous year.
An ability to access key strategic skills in the short term continues to be one of the driving forces behind businesses using contractors. Indeed, a challenging climate impacts on employers’ willingness to make long-term investment in permanent employees.
Of course, working as a contractor doesn’t suit everyone. To get consistent employment you must be proactive about looking for work, whether that’s directly or through a recruitment agency like RHL.
With your specialist knowledge, it’s crucial to be able to deliver the goods and so contracting suits professionals already some way into their career.
There’s no stability or security of a long-term employment contract, with employer benefits like sick pay, pension scheme, car allowance or bonuses. And as a contractor you have certain legal responsibilities, including to clients for any mistakes that you make - so you’ll need professional indemnity insurance for most work (there are useful guides on this here).
Plus, there are also upcoming changes in IR 35 legislation that could see you paying more tax in the future. As we covered recently, self-employed contractors who supply services to a private sector client via an intermediary, for example a limited company or personal service company (PSC), will be affected by these changes.
Remember that there are three different ways of working as a contractor:
The skilled contractors who approach us at RHL to help them find their next specialist booking have a multitude of reasons for choosing to work for themselves.
Many appreciate the flexibility this way of working gives them. Above all, they appreciate being able to bring their expertise to diverse teams and different projects, with greater choices in how, when and where they work - and gaining new perspectives and contacts along the way.
Our team of experts at RHL works closely with major clients in sectors including automotive, built environment, design and manufacture, energy, facilities maintenance, life sciences, property and transport.
If you feel ready to move into the contract space or are looking for more contracting opportunities, do get in touch.