While 2012 presented a number of challenges for businesses and workers alike, the advent of a new year is often seen as the perfect time to make a fresh start. Indeed, with the British economy still in a relatively fragile state and many companies keen to keep costs to a minimum, this could be the ideal year in which to consider working as a contractor.
There are many benefits to working in this manner, not least because doing so gives you the flexibility to work on multiple short-term projects and set your own hours. It is not, however, something that should be done on a whim, and you will need to give plenty of thought into becoming a contractor. Whether you have been working as a contractor for a substantial period or are thinking about entering the industry for the first time, here is a look at some of the things 2013 may have in store for you.
Need for Flexibility Increases
Despite the ongoing precarious nature of the UK economy, a significant number of companies still retain a willingness to complete projects and to expand their operations. However, the financial restrictions that many businesses are facing means that the costs attached to taking employees on a permanent basis are off-putting.
This is where the services that contractors offer may be particularly sought-after. The short-term nature of their work and highly-specialised skills that contractors tend to offer means they can provide the assistance that businesses need in order to cope with fluctuations in their workload, while keeping costs to a minimum.
Unlike with traditional employees they take on, businesses that hire contractors need not provide a pension or other financial benefits, meaning they can prove to be a highly cost-effective option.
Indeed, data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows that nearly half (46 per cent) of those currently in work are either in a flexible or part-time role, with this figure predicted to grow more over the coming years.
Use of Technology Set to Increase
With the REC also noting that social media and mobile gadgets will have a growing role in recruitment activity in the next 18 months or so, contractors should make sure they are using technology to full effect.
This could take the form of using LinkedIn and Twitter as a way to establish links with prospective clients and source contracts, with online assessment and live video interviewing taking off and replacing the traditional process of recruiting.
New Legislative Changes
Unlike those who are permanently employed by a company, it is on the onus of contractors to make sure their business is constantly up to date with any changes in the law – and there won’t be an HR department that they can call in case they have any queries. With 2013 already seeing the introduction of several new pieces of legislation, including the High Income Child Benefit Charge where those earning over £50,000 a year will be charged tax on child benefit payments, contractors may want to reconsider their tax strategy so they can maximise their earnings, while remaining in the confines of the law.
As you can see, there are many things that contractors – regardless of their area of expertise or how long they have been working in the field for – ought to take into consideration. However, keeping up to date with legislative changes and paying tax can prove to be difficult, especially when you are busy working on current contracts and trying to secure future deals.
Enlisting the services of an accountany services provider like PayStream for help with payroll and other administrative matters is a good way to make sure that you meet all of your financial commitments on time and in full, leaving you with more time to dedicate to completing projects.
Do you have skills that would make you a sought-after contractor? If so, what are they?