Our Managing Director, Andrew Fahey provides his take on what’s shaping up to be a landmark year for the UK. You can watch his interview here or read his thoughts below.
What three words summarise 2018 for the industry?
Growth, anticipation and resilience. In that order!
How do you think 2019 is going to compare?
With the announcement on IR35 in November’s Autumn Budget, there’s far more certainty for the entire supply chain (contractors, recruiters, end clients and ourselves).
As the timeline is now confirmed, end hirers can now commission projects, agencies can proceed with staffing them and workers can continue to engage providers to support them.
Where are the biggest opportunities going to come from?
Compliance will be key, no doubt about that.
In a world where the right talent is a commodity, end hirers will need to adapt. The legislative changes give them the opportunity to truly shape their processes with their hiring agencies, driving a significant competitive advantage in attracting true, genuinely self-employed contractors.
This forward-thinking attitude will not only smooth out and legislative disruption (because there will be some) but help increase the pressures on their competition around recruiting talent.
What advice would you give to first-time contractors?
I can break this down into 5 recommendations:
- Change your mindset from Day 1. Time is now your most valuable commodity. Any activity that you complete where you’re unable to bill someone, except for sourcing your next role, either STOP or seriously think about the merits of doing it
- Keep learning and always look to enhance your knowledge
- Surround yourself with a support network that you can trust
- Keep your pipeline of work healthy, teeing up your next role at least 2 months in advance of your current one finishing
- Always focus on delivering quality work (you’d be surprised how this can slip)
This is what will help you create longevity in your contracting career. The quicker you can switch from the employee mindset, to the self-employed one, the more successful you’ll be.
And your advice to those already doing it?
For those contractors engaged via a PSC, the changing legislative landscape means that a new skill set needs to be deployed. A “contractor’s arsenal” now needs to factor in engaging with the hirers staffing teams to discuss engagement processes, working practises and contractual positions. Fostering a collaborative discussion on how both parties can learn and adapt to ensure that the IR35 status is managed correctly will be vital, particularly in avoiding any knee-jerk reactions and inappropriate classifications.
The Political Hot Potatoes – IR35 vs. Brexit
I’ve got to go with Brexit on this one. I’m extremely certain that whatever it throws at us, we’ll adapt and change as necessary. However, it’s far less defined as of today, posing a greater risk due to the uncertainty.
IR35 is a relatively known quantity and although the change in responsibility for the determination will cause disruption, the industry will adapt to it, as it has adapted to other challenges we’ve faced.
ONE More Thing
My final thought would be one of a rallying cry for the industry to handle the IR35 changes maturely. We have an opportunity to show that we’re a hugely compliant sector. One that wants longevity in the flexible workforce. One that can, and should, adapt and comply.
A push towards short-lived, non-compliant engagement models in a flawed attempt to circumnavigate these changes is not what we need. It’s time for the trade bodies, agencies and clients to work together to prove that we’re not the “dodgy umbrella sector” that needs a light shining on it.