Tag Archive | "London"

A Contractors Guide to Working Abroad

While there are many contracting jobs in the UK, with cities such as London and Glasgow being at the top of the list, some are looking elsewhere.

Jetting off abroad to be exact, in a bid to become one of the lucky contractors who get to make money while enjoying the sun, sea and sand.

Contractor jobs in Europe are becoming very popular, with Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and France being some of the main destinations for contractors who want a bit of adventure.

Not only that, but some get even more adventurous and decide to go further afield, especially to Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Yes, the world is getting smaller when it comes to the world of contracting, and if you have the skills and are willing to relocate, either on a temporary or permanent basis, then expect to get paid for your time and effort.

That isn’t to say that working abroad as a contractor is all smooth sailing. It isn’t, and if you are not prepared then you will be arriving back at a UK airport faster than you can imagine…your plans ruined and dreams in tatters.

One of the main things I always advise contractors to do before moving to another country is make sure you have plenty of savings.

Contracting jobs might not be landing on your lap during those first few months abroad, and if they don’t you want to make sure you have a bit of cash tucked away to back you up.

There is nothing worse than running out of money after a month and having no other choice but to book a flight back home.

Next, I would say that you must be able to speak a bit of the local language if you really want to make an impact in the contracting scene of a particular country. Also, be prepared to learn even more, to the point where you become almost fluent.

Sure, you might be able to get some contracting jobs in Japan by speaking only English, but you will have a lot more options if you know your Kon’nichiwa’s from your Sayonara’s.

Lastly, I encourage all contractors working abroad to be persistent and don’t let rejection stop you from living your dream.

You might find it tough those first few months when the jobs are few and far between and it seems like everything is against you, but, if you stick with it and do the right things then you will be rewarded.

Many contractors are abroad right now enjoying a great quality of life while making good money. There is no reason why you can’t join them.

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New Self Employed Survey – Southampton, The Place to be

Being self employed is great as many of you will agree…but having a good quality of life is even better, don’t you think? I do.

Where in the country offers the best work/life balance for self employed contractors and freelancers you might be wondering? Good question, and luckily a new survey gives us the answer.

Southampton to be exact, is the place to be for our nations self employed, as the survey found it to come out on top for factors such as working hours, life satisfaction, earnings, amount of holidays, self employed loans…and more.

The people behind the survey decided to ask 5000 self employed workers for their information and opinions, and from all of this data they came up with Southampton as being number 1 in the country.

This has led to some pundits to give say the words…go to Southampton, not London.

However, London didn’t fair badly in the survey, where it earned its place within the top 3, only narrowly coming in behind Southampton at the number 2 spot.

So that is a silver medal for London, but who took the bronze you might be wondering? That award goes North of the border to Edinburgh where many self employed workers there really do enjoy a good quality of life.

The survey gave us statistics such as the fact that in Southampton the average self employed income is £39,024, which is significantly higher than the national average of £32,624.

Also, people in Southampton enjoy putting their feet up it appears, because the survey went on to find out they work, on average, 2 hours less than other self employed workers around the country.

In London the average self employed income is £35,779, which is necessary if you ask me when you consider the expensive costs associated with the city. Edinburgh is not very far behind London when it comes to income, with a figure of £35,285 being reported.

If you are a self employed contractor, freelancer, gig worker, or business owner, then you might just want to consider a move to one of these cities.

Up North to Edinburgh maybe, where there is always plenty to do and the city has many affordable accommodation and housing options.

Or down South to Southampton, where you can enjoy better weather and being near to the beach, with many cheap offices to rent and self employed mortgages to be found.

You could also move to London of course, although be prepared for a more expensive experience. That isn’t to say the city doesn’t have its merits, especially in certain industries and professions where going to London is probably essential for networking and finding clients.

Southampton, London, or Edinburgh? The choice is yours.

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The northern powerhouse is stoking up the coals

In the run up to GE2015, Chancellor Osborne (in particular) often referenced Conservative plans for a “northern powerhouse”. Critics assessed his commentary as lip service, a vote winner, to the northern electorate and no more.

Even as recently as six days ago, the Telegraph gave us four reasons why the north will never be the heart of manufacturing that the oft-repeated phrase engenders. Fair criticism, or Labour stalwarts miffed that the Tories have trampled on their territory?

Well, “A Conservative stronghold in the north” isn’t a phrase many people have uttered with gusto (or confidence) in the past. So, yes, you can see the critics’ perspectives. But the latest figures from CV Library, depicting job growth for Q2 2015, may change a few minds.

Ee, it’s grim down south

CV Library 9 Cities Job Growth v Job Share Q2 2015 Graph

Job growth in London remains positive despite slowing down compared to recent months. And the number of jobs in the capital is almost three times that of the nearest rival (London 17.02% vs Birmingham 5.79%). But this isn’t the headline of the latest report.

Job growth outside London is fast outpacing the capital. Despite only commanding 0.62% of the total UK job market, the number of jobs posted in Q2 sees Edinburgh top the growth chart (from Q1). Liverpool and Birmingham also trump London (4th), as they occupy second and third places.

Can the north keep on outperforming London for job growth?

The big question is, is the recorded growth a flash in the pan or is it sustainable? There are two key issues occurring in the background that may suggest the Q2 figures are the start of a trend.

HS2 is the first aspect we must consider. With commuting time to the capital set to be slashed upon HS2’s introduction, we’ll begin to see the capital’s wealth trickle northwards, almost parallel to the M6. With Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds holding 2nd, 3rd and 4th spots in the current job share tables as it is, the gap will reduce further in anticipation.

That’s great for the UK economy. What’s not so positive is the worry in The City over the larger financial institutions. Moreover, what they’re going to do next. The bank levies announced in the budget will give many economists (and shareholders) a sleepless night or two until the dust settles.

We may already be seeing the effect of some banks holding out on posting new positions while they consider their long term options. If that’s also the beginning of a trend, then the UK may well need a northern powerhouse as the Chancellor alluded last summer to replace London’s dominance as the centre of world trade. Not that we want to get our City Slickers in a twist, of coure.

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Younger contractors will save us all, trade body declares

Ladies and gentlemen, rejoice for our prayers have been answered: a major trade industry body says we can just dump our problems on the younger generation.

Well all right that’s not exactly what was said, but it’s what it kind of breaks down as. In particular the industry body formerly known as PCG – know recently rebranded as the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed – says that according to its research the skills shortage – especially in London – can be taken care of nicely by simply relying on younger Brits who are moving into self-employment fields such as freelancing, working as an umbrella company contractor or founding their own small business start up.

Nearly half of all firms in the capital are convinced that London is suffering from the skills gap at the moment, according to the latest surveys. Two out of every three London companies reported directly finding it difficult in sourcing highly skilled candidates, and the worst off are the creative and information technology sectors. With all this dire news coming to light IPSE chief executive, Chris Bryce, remarked that with an 18 per cent unemployment rate for young Londoners there’s no way this should be occurring right now.

Bryce said that there needs to be a serious effort on the part of schools and universities to impart the proper skills needed for younger Brits to take up the positions that are so sorely needed in the capital. It didn’t matter to the chief executive if these younger Brits were permanent employees or contract workers – London needs shedloads more of them to be provided the education they need to get themselves out of unemployment and helping to rebuild the economy of the capital.

Of course this is all well and good to say, but how are we supposed to go about implementing this? For education on this level you would need a massive overhaul of the educational system, and that requires buckets of cold, hard cash to bring in a new curriculum and educators that can handle the necessary instruction. Last time I checked the amount of money available to local authorities earmarked for education is about the same amount of water you can fit in a thimble. We’re going to provide some serious help to the next generation if we expect them to bail us out!

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Prospects looking good for IT contractors

Umbrella company IT contractors may want to consider moving to the capital or the south-east of England in their bid to secure a contract.

According to research from ReThink Recruitment, IT work in those areas has increased. In fact 64% of all England’s IT vacancies were in London and the south-east. Before the recession two years ago the figure was 58%.

Rethink Recruitment’s director Michael Bennett said that the economic crisis prompted the banking sector to invest significantly in risk management and compliance systems and this has led to recruitment demand increasing substantially for candidates with the requisite skills.

There has also been a wave of financial institution mergers which has fuelled demand for candidates to deal with post-merger integration of IT systems.

Meanwhile, the REC’s latest Report on Jobs shows that there has been significant improvement in demand for freelance IT workers. In the last 12 months, the REC’s index rose from 43.3 to 56.9.

Dave Pye from the REC said that a lot of the growth has been in the pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors where people with business technology skills are in much demand. Whilst demand is likely to ease somewhat, the REC still expects to see growth over the next few months as companies become more confident.

The Jobs Report also showed that contactor opportunities improved across all industries last month.

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