What can contractors expect in 2017?

19th January 2017

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So, apart from the fireworks of Brexit negotiations and the Trump Presidency, what else can contractors expect in 2017? iContract has collected some research for you:

– The International Monetary Fund predicts the UK economy will be the fastest-growing G7 economy in 2017. Companies will need to source new talent and skill-sets, which is great news for everyone, but especially so for contractors.

– The Evening Standard’s Commercial Recruitment editor Niki Chesworth reports that 16% of London’s staff work for themselves now.  In a modern, fast moving city, this independence keeps the economy ahead of the rest. Research suggests that contractors are more productive, happier and higher earning than permanent staff but lack job security and traditional benefits and pensions.

– In contrast to the lower end of the ‘gig economy’ spectrum (such as Deliveroo and Uber drivers, where staff have been using the tribunals to fight for rights) professional contractors appear happy to forego those benefits for the flexibility of choosing the right company, right assignment and higher take-home pay.

– Report on Jobs from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation recently suggests that both permanent and temporary job opportunities are at near 12-month highs. As predicted by iContract in previous blogs, opportunities are greatest in audit, risk, legal, IT and internal accounting roles as large companies assess Brexit and other regulatory impacts.

– Simon McVicker, director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and Self Employed (IPSE) corroborated iContract’s view that uncertainty is good for people who work independently. This will be especially the case in the private sector, with the only dampener in the public sector being the changes to IR35, which may mean being taxed on a PAYE basis (please see an earlier iContract blog on this topic).  

– Sam Hurley, Ops Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) highlights however that the changes may have the unintended consequences for the public sector of a skills shortage and/or an increase in contractor rates to recoup the lost take-home pay. iContract recommends contractors keep an eye on the market for opportunities.

– A Robert Walters white paper reveals that 76 per cent of employers are using contractors to bridge skills shortages and 47% see contractors as a cost-effective way of completing projects. One thing to bear in mind when negotiating with companies is that whilst large companies will not mind daily rates, smaller companies will often prefer a fixed-term salary to control costs.

– On a lighter note, an ongoing problem (rather than a 2017 trend) that the same research revealed is that more than 40% of contractors reported that on Day 1 of a new assignment they had either no desk, no chair or no IT access.  In a straw-poll of the iContract team, 80% of us had had this issue, so our advice is communicate effectively and ask specifically about this before each job.

– Finally, 2017 will soon see the full launch of  We have been hard at work reflecting feedback received during from early registrations, including building additional code, algorithims and relationships with recruiters so that we can offer the best matching service for contractors and recruiters.  To stay abreast of the best job opportunities, market news, essential services for contractors, as well as staying connected to your network, pre-register now.