The Recruitment and Employment Confederation says that employers are courting freelancers and umbrella company contractors with increased pay rates.
The REC says that pay rates have rocketed upwards lately at rates unheard of since November of 2007. The reason behind the sudden interest in paying contract workers what they’re worth? Well, employers seemed to have finally realised that without interim workers there’s little that can be done to stop the skills shortage from grinding the economy to a halt.
More and more freelancers are being snapped up by firms looking to plug gaps in vacancies left unfilled due to the skills shortage, and that means the overall number of temporary workers available to plug these gaps is starting to dwindle. This means, of course, more competition for those contractors that remain – and in order to be an attractive choice for a self-employed Brit a company has to provide excellent pay rates.
And let’s be honest here: for what it’s worth, contractor availability hasn’t taken such a huge hit since March of 1998 according to REC research. With permanent employee availability down even further than that, it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that any firm not fighting hard to keep their current freelancers and fighting even harder to attract the remaining ones still looking for new projects is going to end up in a bad place.
What does this mean for the economy? Well the skills shortage has gone on so far at this point that the voluminous number of contract workers can no longer keep up with the demand of employers looking to expand during the economic recovery. This has sent employers into a feeding frenzy, especially since any firms that don’t manage to expand their workforce sufficiently to grow along with the economy will most likely end up stagnating and possibly even shuttering as a result. If too many companies end up not being able to expand in the future, this could easily derail the economic recovery and result in a slide back into recession.
So what’s the end result? Well if you’re a contractor or freelancer currently not working for a firm that needs new staff, you’re likely to be snapped up soon. If you’re already working for such a firm I’d be surprised if your employers don’t offer you a bigger and better contract when your current project is completed. Ride the wave whilst you can, lads!