Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics indicate growth in the UK economy, with gross domestic products increasing by 0.7 per cent in the three months leading up to the end of June, equating to a year-on-year growth of 1.5 per cent.
Both permanent and temporary job appointments have been on the rise in recent months, and the job market may be set for a boom as the economy continues to improve.
This is welcome news for independent contractors in a range of industries; as growing economic confidence creates new opportunities, and employers are increasingly keen to take advantage of the skills that they can offer.
Digital and IT skills are especially in demand, with a recent report for O2 indicating that the UK will need an additional 750,000 workers with skills in this sector by 2017. While a proportion of these positions will be suitable for young people entering the workforce, many others will require more experience, and independent IT contractors will be perfectly placed to take advantage of this demand.
However, whilst independent contractors and freelancers are looking forward to business growth over the next twelve months, many fear that the administrative burden on them will grow, with legislation continuing to hinder them in their chosen careers.
IR35 is a particular concern for many contractors. While the legislation is intended to combat the use of “disguised employees” as a tax avoidance measure, it has been controversial since its introduction in 2000 due to its complexity. Despite recommendations from the Office of Tax Simplification in 2011 suggesting that it be suspended, it remains in place; so contractors must still assess their IR35 status for each contract that they accept. This administrative necessity makes it harder to move efficiently from one contract to the next, and can be especially confusing for anyone who is just entering the market as a contractor.
While protest groups continue to lobby against IR35 legislation and campaign for a reduction in the red tape around businesses, here at ICS we continue to offer expert advice and assistance to independent contractors in any sector or industry. Our free IR35 guide is available for download, or you can contact us for a free IR35 review to ensure that you are clear on where you stand.