Contracting opportunities see significant rise

Wednesday 2 March 2016

As a contractor, you will naturally want to know that there are enough opportunities available for you in the industry you're in. If companies stop taking on temporary staff, it can end up being difficult to secure work. Luckily, the latest news from the contracting sector suggests that business is looking good for freelance workers.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has released research showing that in the last three months of 2015, professional contracting vacancies grew compared to the same period from the year before. The organisation found that these increased by six per cent year-on-year, on average.

Certain sectors saw a greater increase than others, of course. The finance and accounting sector saw a rise of ten per cent in professional contracting vacancies, while the IT industry saw an increase of seven per cent. Some sectors did not do as well, such as engineering which only saw a year-on-year rise of one per cent, but overall the world of professional contracting looks promising.

This is especially promising given the growth in self-employed workers recently. If vacancies had been growing because of people abandoning contracting for permanent jobs, it would not be a good sign. However, the opposite is true. More and more people are flocking to become contractors, and yet vacancies are still growing more numerous.

Ann Swain, the chief executive of APSCo, said: "The number of self-employed people in the UK has swelled by over half a million since 2010, accounting for over a quarter of the growth in total employment during this time."

APSCo has found that more than 4.6 million people in the UK are self-employed, working as contractors, consultants or sole traders. This represents 15 per cent of the entire UK workforce, which is a significant change in the balance between temporary and permanent staff.

This could prove to be incredibly positive news, as a new report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has indicated that this rise in the number of self-employed professionals means there is an increased need for changes to make things fairer for freelancers.
For example, the BIS report indicated the need for changes to taxation, pensions and mortgages, as typically self-employed workers have lost out in these areas. Organisations such as Brookson are able to provide financial help and accounting services to improve contractors' monetary situation, but these changes would still be very welcome.

By Victoria McDonnell

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