Monthly contractor pay rate increase hits 7 year high

September saw the highest pay rate increase for contractors in seven years, according to newly released monthly research data.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation broke the news a few days ago: pay rate increases for freelancers and umbrella company contractors went screaming into the atmosphere this past month. The last time hourly rates increased so quickly was November of 2007, well before the credit crunch that plunged the world into economic turmoil – and if you ask me this is prime evidence that the UK at least has navigated itself out of the doldrums of the economic downturn quite well.

And I’m also pleased to say that the REC found that permanent employees also saw a significant boost in their hourly pay rates as well, especially for Londoners. Traditional employees working in the capital certainly needed the shot in the arm, as the trade industry body’s last survey saw that August pay rate increases for permanent workers had sunk to a seven month low. Still, London’s traditional workers aren’t out of the woods just yet; the capital’s pay rates are lagging behind the region rather significantly. I can only hope that Londoners can hang in there for a bit longer in the hopes that their fortunes improve soon.

Regardless of that, the future remains relatively rosy for contract workers, as demand for their services went up as well in September. This is the 17th month in a row that contract billings went up across the UK, and while the pace of this increase might have slowed for permanent workers once more – to a ten month low in fact – there was still a net gain in permanent work placments overall, the REC said.

Honestly I can’t say I’m surprised by these figures, though of course I would have liked to have seen a bit more love thrown the way of British permanent employees. I’m not saying that I would have liked to have seen permanent workers do better than the self-employed, as I know which side of my bread is buttered, but overall economic growth is always better for everyone involved, freelancers and traditional employees alike. I don’t want anyone thinking that I feel it’s a zero-sum game, after all – I’d like British workers of all stripes successful and happy, not just contractors!

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