The sheer number of opportunities that are available for contractors and freelancers is truly incredible, and recently it has been revealed that those who specialise in the Information Technology and Engineering sectors are in particular demand.

As the skill shortage worsens in these industries, employers are desperately seeking to fill the gap, and it seems that the only way this can be achieved is by turning to freelance contractors – at least, according to a recent survey conducted by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

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The Skills Shortage

The findings of the survey showed that 98% of the surveyed businesses had either no or very little capacity to accept more work without extra employees, and without turning to the expertise that’s on offer from self-employed contractors, they simply cannot cope without sacrificing the quality of the work provided or the amount of output achieved.

The IT skills shortage is of particular concern in the UK, as many corporate executives have the desire to invest more in technology and IT services, but with very few skilled workers in the industry at present, this is simply not possible without hiring freelance IT professionals who boast robust skillsets.

IT security is a top priority for many businesses, particularly those that deal with highly sensitive information. Such data must be protected, and simply cannot be dealt with by an employee who does not have sufficient skills and training.

The engineering industry is also one that has been hard hit by the skills shortage in the UK. Daunting statistics, released by Engineering UK earlier this year, found that the shortage of skills in this sector could potentially cost the UK a colossal £27 billion a year by 2022 unless the gap can be filled.

So, what does the future hold for these industries? In the REC survey, a staggering 82% of the surveyed employers stated that they hire contractors in order to access ’key strategic skills’, which is a trend that has long been noted, and this number appears to be increasing dramatically every year.

As a result, the future of these industries may not lie in hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs for one company. Instead, major companies in the engineering and IT sectors would instead turn to freelance specialists as a more viable way to progress.

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The Future?

The REC survey found that 62% of employers agreed that freelance workers in these industries have the potential to earn far more than they would if they were in permanent employment.

This means that freelance specialists who work in either IT or engineering have the potential to make a far greater income from their work, and with the skills shortage getting worse, this could be set to exponentially increase.

But how are contractors to cope with the increasing demand for their skills? For a start, you must organise all your documents and finances to prepare for the increased administration and accountancy tasks you’ll be faced with, and such tasks can be extremely time-consuming, to say the least.

If you are a freelancer or contractor, your focus must be on securing the increasing contracts that will become available in the not-too-distant future, and therefore you must ensure that your financial business is carried out thoroughly and professionally. We’re aware that this isn’t often a contractor’s strongpoint, so the team at ICS would love to hear from you if you’re struggling with the accountancy and administration side of things.

To prepare for your imminent demand, the contractor accountants at ICS can help. To find out more, please phone 0800 195 3750, or talk to us using our chat box.