More senior professionals become contractors

Wednesday 5 November 2014

A new study has revealed a rise in self-employed director- and senior manager-level contractors in the past five years.

That’s according to international professional services consultancy Procorre, who has discovered a 47 per cent rise during this time, increasing from 502,000 to 739,000.

It’s a notable figure and suggests a sea change in the way people view contracting, with more understanding the benefits associated with this type of career path.

According to Procorre, this increase is much higher than the 21 per cent growth-rate of all levels of self-employment since 2009, while it’s also much more than the 32 per cent growth seen among managers and professionals.

Relationship manager at Procorre Lisa Mangen suggested more directors and those in senior positions were looking to take back control of their destiny and find a more effective balance between the working and personal lives.

It is also been suggested that many directors and senior workers can utilise their skills for a more lucrative financial gain, by offering their services to the highest bidder.

“There was a degree of nervousness about self-employment when businesses were struggling during the recession, with many seeing a permanent job as a safer option,” Ms Mangen said.

“The reality is that nowadays full-time employment gives you very little protection in an economic downturn. In fact, many contractors did very well during the financial crisis and now confidence is growing we’re seeing an unprecedented wave of highly-skilled workers becoming self-employed.”

While many might have been encouraged to try out self-employment as an alternative to full-time work during the recession, Procorre suggests the increasingly stable economy is now leading to people feeling more relaxed about quitting their job and testing out the possibilities of contract working.

To ease into the world of self-employment, many have even taken the option of going part-time first, to see what is available before leaving a secure job and monthly wage entirely.

Luckily for those at senior- and director-level, there isn’t a shortage of companies and businesses looking to take advantage of their unique skill set.

“For many businesses, the most efficient use of resources may be to ‘buy-in’ the desired skills on a short-term basis, Ms Mangan continued. “This approach also allows the contractor to focus upon their area of expertise and maximise the amount of time doing what they do best, rather than dealing with the distractions of day-to-day management or office politics.”

While becoming a self-employed contractor allows you to make the most of your current skills, it also allows you the chance to test yourself in new areas, with a challenge offering immense job satisfaction once completed.

Of course, many will be more reluctant to take on self-employed and contract work due to the issues associated with accounting and dealing with tax calculations.

However, accounting services are readily available to help ease the stress associated with keeping financial records, while umbrella companies can help with invoicing and payment, as well as providing guidance on what you can claim as expenses under a tax assessment.

By Victoria McDonnell

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