New think tank founded to study contractors

Umbrella company contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed Brits will soon be under new scrutiny from a think tank recently founded to study them.

Do you feel like a lab rat yet? You might soon enough, once the Centre for Research on Self-Employment gets up and running. The new think tank was created with the express idea of looking into understanding the psychology behind someone going into self-employment, how the economy is impacted by the some 4.5 million Brits that work for themselves, and – hopefully – come up with recommendations as to how to support them and make their lives easier. Considering that umbrella contractors and other types of freelancers make up about 14 per cent of the British workforce, I say it’s about time we received some attention!

CRSE chair and Trinity College Dublin’s Trinity Business School dean Andrew Burke says that self-employed Brits are rather important, considering how they’re having a transformative effect on career choice and business practices. The professor remarked that an increasing number of firms have begun to drive growth and manage risk by using freelancers and contract workers to a greater extent. In other words, he’s saying that contractors are damned important to the business world, the economy, and pretty much any employer that wants to see their firm grow and flourish in the current economic environment.

So what’s the CRSE actually going to do in order to shed additional light on your favourite way of earning a living? Well, Burke has his eye on some researchers that could “engage with the industry” in order to learn how freelancing works today. In other words, there’s going to be shedloads of new research studies, so don’t be surprised if you get contacted via email or through a professional contact sometimes soon with requests to participate in research studies and thins of that nature.

So what’s this going to mean in the long run? Hopefully this will be more than just an annoyance when it comes to people knocking down your door to ask you questions. The data this think tank gathers might be crucial in providing the business world with a better idea of how contract workers go about their business and how to interact in ways that benefit both employers and freelancers alike. Maybe it could even have some sway in Westminster and end up resulting in the passing of some new legislation that actually favours self-employed individuals instead of just piling more useless regulation atop the freelancing sector.

Will this happen? Your guess is as good as mine. It can’t hurt, though, can it?

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