New “gig economy” benefits contractors

Employment opportunities for freelancers and contractors in the new “gig economy” abound, according to newly released economic research.

Prospects look rather good for freelancers, consultants, and umbrella company contractors right now, according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies. In fact, APSCo found from their recently conducted research that professional recruitment firms have increased their advertised vacancies by something like four per cent on average. Combined with the skills shortage still making it difficult for businesses to source permanent employees, the trade industry body says that the economic climate right now is strong for temporary workers like umbrella contractors – a further reinforcement of the new gig economy that seems to be growing more robust with every passing day both in the UK and internationally.

The skills shortage is undeniably a thing that’s happening right now, as it has been for quite some time. An unrelated research study by Robert Half UK discovered that more than one out of every three CFOs surveyed were having a devil of a time finding and keeping individuals with the skills needed to help grow their businesses. On top of that, pressures are mounting on firms to remain competitive – especially in the accountancy and financial sectors, by offering more lucrative pay packets. Meanwhile, the ASPCo survey backs up this claim with its own, point out that its own research found that finance and accounting vacancies have rocketed by something like 66 per cent!

So what exactly is APSCo, and congruently, Robert Half saying? Well for what it’s worth the things we can take away from these independent surveys is that it’s still a brilliant time to be working as a freelancer or a contractor in the UK – and that the trend, which has been holding steadily for quite some time, is going to continue for the foreseeable future. Or at least it will as long as the skills shortage continues. If you ask me, it’s going to continue to be smooth sailing for contract workers even if the number of qualified permanent employees looking to fill these vacancies grows to more sustainable levels – but you know as well as I do that this isn’t going to happen overnight. Yes, it needs to happen eventually for the British economy to remain stable in the long term – and that’s something that everyone, freelancers and traditional employees alike, should welcome. However, unless the next crop of university graduates shows up tomorrow with the kinds of skills and experience they need to fill these roles, the gig economy isn’t changing any time soon.

 

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