Amid changes in the working landscape, Workingmums.co.uk is holding a survey to understand workers’ experience of and interest in contracting and freelancing.
Are you thinking of moving into contracting work? Workingmums.co.uk has launched a new survey to gauge contractors’ experiences about the pros and cons and ascertain individuals’ interest in contract work in an increasingly uncertain employment outlook.
Unlike employees, contractors do not work regularly for a particular employer but as and when required and are usually paid on a freelance basis.
The number of people contracting rose significantly after the 2008 recession as employers shied away from permanent hires amid all the instability. Women, many seeking greater flexibility, have been a key driver of this increase.
In early 2018, it was calculated that 1.77 million of the two million or so professionals who work on a self-employed basis are contracting on a full-time basis.
In addition to the flexibility offered by working on short-term contracts, another benefit of contracting is that individuals can charge higher rates to make up for relative job insecurity.
There have been a number of changes in the contracting world in the last few years, however, which may have an impact on the numbers choosing this option.
One of the biggest is concerns in recent years about the complexities and confusion regarding the employment status of contractors as the government seeks to clamp down on what it calls disguised employment under IR35 tax legislation. Responsibility for determining IR35 status was shifted from HMRC to employers in the public sector in 2017 and has led to a number of contractors, who have been deemed to be employees for tax purposes, being handed high tax bills, significantly reducing their take home pay even though they continue to miss out on the employment rights their employee colleagues receive. The confusion over employment status has led to contractors moving away from the public sector. The legislation is being extended to the private sector from April 2020.
Another big uncertainty is Brexit. Experts say Brexit uncertainty could lead to employers increasing the number of contractors they employ – as they did after 2008 – and holding off hiring permanent staff. It may also mean that there are fewer jobs available in the UK generally. On the other hand, depending on the role and sector, there could be particular skills shortages if EU workers choose to leave the UK.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, all bets are off. A no-deal situation could lead to particular problems for mobile contractors, given UK workers’ status in the EU and EU citizens’ status in the UK will be uncertain.
Given that the jobs market is at a potential crossroads, it is a good time to ascertain what candidates view as the potential pluses and minuses of contracting and what might influence their position in the next few months.
To take part in the survey, click here.