The UK contractor industry overall has seen a sustained period of growth over the last few years, with the number of contractors reaching never seen before levels, and making a huge economic impact. The reasons for this are well documented already, with key factors being people creating their own jobs after the economic crash, as well as people becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a strong work-life balance.
But exactly who are the people and industries fueling this growth?
We’ve seen massive rises in contractors across most industries, but the ones that seem to be growing the most in terms of contractor numbers are IT & Communications, Engineering and Energy, Oil & Gas. When you consider that these are highly specialised areas, it comes as little surprise since businesses appear to be increasingly seeing the benefit of hiring short term contractors with dedicated specialisms, rather than permanently employing someone who ends up being a jack of all trades but a master of none.
When you consider that three of the top occupations we see are Project Manager, Design Engineer and IT Consultant, these industries become even more obvious in terms of their growth. These roles are, of course, perfect for contractors as they are roles that are only required for shorter periods or specific projects. It’s more cost effective for a business to hire these roles as and when they require them, rather than paying someone a year round-salary when there is little for them to do.
Who is contracting is possibly an even more tantalising question. Just who are the people fueling this growth and why? Traditionally, contractors have been predominantly male and over 40 – people who’ve reached specialist status and have the choice to move into management or become a contractor. And these people still are moving into and working in the contracting community.
However, women are increasingly moving into the world of self-employment, as we reported on earlier in June. This seems to be, in many cases, an alternative to the traditional option of going part time once women have become mothers. Many part time opportunities don’t offer the right balance of flexibility and career advancement, whereas contracting allows working mothers to manage their own time while still progressing in their job on their own terms.
What does this mean?
While contracting may have been seen as an unattractive proposition several years ago as people worried about not having a regular income, the period since 2008 has seen people more willing to take the chance and move into contracting, after seeing that the benefits often outweigh any drawbacks. This seems to have coincided with many businesses choosing to save money and resources by recruiting on a project-by-project basis, seeing the UK move boldly to a much more flexible workforce.
If you are making (or already have made) the move into contracting, you need to make sure you are properly insured in order to cover yourself against all eventualities. Speak to the helpful team at Kingsbridge on 01242 808740 or take a look at our website and we can help make sure you’re covered. You can also get in touch over on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.