Demand for contractors is currently hitting extremely high levels in 2014, and it’s fair to say that contracting in the UK has rarely looked so appealing. Figures have indicated that the number of available contracting vacancies are a full 8% ahead of where they were this time last year, and this impressive growth has been seen throughout numerous sectors.

Contracting – Growth and Skills Shortages

The IT, accounting and finance sectors have registered the most robust growth figures, with IT in particular leading the way with growth rates of more than 30%. The recent pattern of the skills shortage is still being followed as well, with many employers finding it difficult to locate professionals who possess the skills that they need.

All told, this puts people who do possess such specialised skill-sets in a very appealing position. The demand for contractors is very high, as is the need for individuals with very particular skill-sets, and so if you possess such qualities then consistent employment shouldn’t be hard to find. However, if you’re considering a career change, or are perhaps looking for an entirely new career, then have you considered contracting?

If you’re able to doctor your skill-set to incorporate some of the in-demand abilities that are coveted by employers in the IT sector, for example, then it’s fair to say that it shouldn’t be hard to find a position. Many permanent employees don’t possess these types of skills, so contractors have a monopoly upon such roles. If you’re unused to a contracting lifestyle though, then there are plenty of differences to bear in mind, and we’ll go over some of these points in the rest of this article.

Obtaining New Contracts

One real difference when it comes to obtaining freelance work is found in the interview process. Interviews are frequently ‘one stop’ events in the world of freelancing, and sometimes a quick phone call is literally all that’s needed to secure a post. Obviously, some contracting posts can put you through a complex multi-interview process in the same fashion as a permanent post, but more often than not the procedure is very quick-fire. Because of that, there is a real to be able to quickly call to hand relevant information and display your competence in a very limited time. Employers are looking for very unique individuals, so your first impression needs to show that you fit the bill.

Contractor Specific Regulations

Contractors and freelancers need to abide by a variety of different rules and regulations, as essentially they fall under the category of ‘self-employed’ workers. IR35 is perhaps the most famous regulation that contractors come into contact with, but there are others besides. Neglecting these regulations can result in a substantial loss of earnings, and in some cases it could even lead to more serious consequences, so familiarise yourself with such contractor-specific rules as soon as possible.

Keeping Accounts as a Contractor

Accounts need to be carefully looked after as a freelancing professional, and the two most common routes that tend to be taken in this respect are either an umbrella company or a limited company route. Both are easy to set up, although the greater tax-benefits of a limited company need more documentation to be in place before you get started. If this is all new to you, then obviously a helping hand would seem to be in order, and here at ICS our dedicated team of contractor accountants can certainly set you on the right track. Contact us now by calling 0800 195 3750 or emailing info@icsuk.comif you’d like to find out more.