A lot can happen in 10 years. Unexpected champions emerge. Countries can rise and fall. Our world gets smaller and our borders close as our horizons expand. But what about closer to home? As regular readers of this blog will know by now, Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Whilst we like to think of ourselves as a company with an eye very much on the future we, like everyone else, enjoy the chance to revel in nostalgia every now and then.
2007 doesn’t seem so long ago. Leona Lewis had the biggest selling single of the year. The Departed won the Best Picture Oscar. Didier Drogba led the Premier League scoring charts.
Hitting double figures got us thinking about changes over the last decade. What is different for us? What is different for the millions of contractors, freelancers, and self-employed out there? How has the landscape changed? We’ve done a bit of digging and compiled a few of the most interesting titbits below:
- We’ve gone from 3 employees in a tiny office in Overbury to nearly 60 employees spread across two office buildings in Tewkesbury
- Our customer base has more than tripled in size over the last 4 years
- We now provide cover for almost 1,000 different job roles
- £33m was invested in Kingsbridge in 2016
- By the beginning of 2017 the number of self-employed in the UK had reached a 40-year high, accounting for around 15% of the total workforce
- The number of contractors in the UK sits at just under 2 million, with the self-employed reaching 4.64 million in total – an increase of more than a third since 2008
- In 2015 businesses owned by UK contractors contributed £109bn to the economy
- Much of the recovery from the 2008/2009 financial crisis has been attributed to the rise in contracting in the UK
- In the last year alone the number of contractors in the UK has risen by 9%
- The number of independent professionals – classed as individuals who work for themselves and engage in highly skilled service activities, rather than the farming, craft or retail sectors – in the UK has risen by 63% since 2004
- During the House of Lords Select Committee on Personal Services Companies (PSCs) inquiry, HMRC estimated that 200,000 workers operate through a PSC. This is an approximate increase of 122% when compared with 1999
- The IT and communications sectors have been fuelled by a significant amount of growth in those numbers, with a 71% increase in candidate availability since 2008
- London accounts for a 21.6% share of the contractor workforce, with the South East making up 22.3% of the total
- More females than males are making the move into contracting. In 2014, the number of female contractors increased to 746,430 – 39.6% of the total
- The UK has the fourth highest growth rate of independent professionals in the European Union, with our 63% well exceeding the average of 45% (behind only the Netherlands (95%), Poland (88%) and France (85%))
Of course, nobody knows what lies ahead. With Draconian clampdowns possibly on the horizon it would seem that politicians are trying to stifle a vibrant community of independent professionals essential to the continued economic growth of the UK (and even more so in a post-Brexit world.)
However, we have seen before, and will see again, that contractors, freelancers and the self-employed are resilient and resourceful and will continue to flourish no matter the size of the obstacle put in their path.