Contracting is King! How new trends are changing the way we work

Contracting is King! How new trends are changing the way we work

26 June 2015

If you’ve taken a taxi recently, there’s a high chance it might have been an Uber car. One of the most impactful start-ups in recent years, a hidden fact behind Uber’s inexorable rise has been its total reliance on contractors. There are something like permanent 2,000 employees on the Uber payroll, compared to nearly 160,000 contractors.

So what can the Uber example tell us about contracting in the 21st century economy? Umbrella’s Operations Director Neil Armitage gave us his thoughts: “Uber is a really specific example of an ‘on-demand’ style of business. They can recruit contractors in waves as and when. Drivers, tech experts and back office staff. That suits their business model, so it is a somewhat nuanced example.”

“But the fact is working practices are changing, and we are seeing more self-employed people, more contractors and freelancers in the UK economy than ever before. There has to be a reason for that.”

“We are seeing now the real impact of technology: increased connectivity to faster, more secure internet means homeworking or remote working is a common theme in sectors such as the financial services, or the creative industries. The availability of B2B and B2C networking platforms where freelancers and contractors can advertise their skills are also bringing contract workers in touch with new revenue streams.”

“Of course, what is also helping is the support around for contractors to really make a success of their entrepreneurial endeavours. Previously filing tax returns, contending with accounting issues, seeking legal advice around payment issues: they were all factors that would dissuade someone from taking the contracting path.”

“That changes with companies such as Umbrella. We’ve got trained accountants, legal experts and tax specialists who work day in, day out with contractors to ensure their finances are in ship shape. That gives them more time to win business, get new projects and benefit from the shifting trends in how Britain goes to work.”