If it feels like there’s blood in the water, you wouldn’t be wrong, especially if you’re a STEM contractor: employers are hungering for your expertise.
At least, that’s what the Recruitment and Employment Confederation is predicting after their latest August outlook on jobs. The REC found that when it comes to employers looking for highly skilled workers in the strategic, technical and engineering sectors it turns out freelancers and umbrella company contractors are at the very top of their list.
The report found that some 82 per cent of employers surveyed rely on contractors to get the job done. Not only that but over the next three months nearly one out of every two businesses surveyed had plans to hire on additional temporary staff. In the longer term, prospects for contract workers look almost as good, with 44 per cent of employers reporting a desire to increase their contractor and freelancer worker headcount.
This is especially good news for anyone who feels they might not be pulling in the compensation they deserve. With demand for freelance staff going through the roof there’s likely to be some stiff competition for the attention of the UK’s best and brightest contract workers, and that means pay rates are likely to go up. With only a finite number of qualified temporary workers to go around, this could drive compensation levels even higher – especially when the skills shortage is taken into account. There’s no guarantee that any of the initiatives or Government programmes in the pipeline to take the heat off the employment market will bear fruit in time, so freelancers may be the only game in town for any employer wanting to increase staff levels now into 2015.
At the same time, too much reliance on contract workers isn’t an ideal situation either, as the growth borne on the backs of those happy few simply isn’t robust enough to continue to support the economic recovery. Contractors are absolutely the elite, sent in to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible before pulling out and heading somewhere else to let the normal rank and file take over; without the spear-carriers ready to jump in there’s going to be some rather tight spots we’ll have to weather indeed!