As demand for staff outstrips supply, are contractors benefitting?

22 May 2015

The much-talked about skills shortage seen across sectors of UK Industry continues to trouble employers in a variety of work areas. Getting hold of the right staff, with the right skills, training and experience is proving a testing – and lasting – challenge to the HR functions of businesses throughout the UK.

Sitting pretty, however, are contractors. Able to pick and choose from a good spread of opportunities in the UK’s mainly buoyant economic landscape, freelancers and self-employed workers are definitely benefitting. To find out how and why, we caught up with Umbrella’s Therese Reinholdsson-Sjostrand: “If we look around the UK market place today, we see the angles and areas into which contractors are able to bring their business-changing value. Skilled contract workers in sectors as diverse as engineering and the financial services, through to construction and even accounting, are in high demand.”

“Rates of pay are increasing at as fast a pace as anything seen since the mid-2000s, coupled with a recruitment landscape throughout which firms are struggling to find the right permanent talent for their vacancies. The result has been a surge in temporary hires targeting the quality inherent to the contracting sector: bringing in work-ready, savvy self-starters able to help a business get over a recruitment ‘hump’. In many cases businesses are pushing on with contractor recruitment over permanent solutions, because of the flexibility offered to both parties and the impressive ROI experienced contractors so often bring.”

“Certainly contractors with specialisms are really benefitting. Why? Because there is a chronic lack of talent in growth areas such as IT and computing: a boom sector that is opening its doors ever wider to scoop up new staff as business continues to surge.”

“The skills gap does concern us all, especially from a long-term economic health perspective, but it has also shown just how much the UK’s economy relies on the growing numbers of efficient self-starting contractors. Business leans heavily on them, and the financial rewards are continuing to make 2015 a profitable year indeed for contractors.”