Better work-life balance drives spike in contracting

Almost half (40%) of UK employees would consider becoming a contractor, new research has revealed.

The report, published by Walters People, found that the biggest reasons for employees wishing to become contractors are a higher hourly pay, a better lifestyle, and more flexibility.

The research also found a major boost to the number of contracting vacancies in the UK – an increase of 29 per cent in the second quarter of 2019. In Birmingham alone, this figure increases to 77 per cent, and in Manchester, it is 38 per cent.

Employees in tech most desire to go self-employed

The industry with the highest proportion of employees wishing to become contractors is technology, with 48 per cent looking to go it alone. Interestingly, the biggest attraction to employees in this industry is the higher hourly pay for contractors.

Other industries with high rates of employees wishing to become self-employed include procurement and the banking and financial services. 

In creative industries, in which over a third of employees said they would consider going self-employed, more flexibility was the leading reason for employees wishing to go self-employed.

Self-employment is on the rise

The number of self-employed people in the UK is growing at an astounding rate. Research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) found that one-in-seven workers in the UK are self-employed, which equates to 4.9 million people.

This growing workforce contribute £275bn to the economy every year, enough to fund the NHS twice.

Alastair Hutchison, policy development manager at IPSE, said: “There are many reasons why we are seeing this sharp rise in the number of people wishing to become contractors. Self-employment can offer workers more flexibility, freedom, and even higher pay.

“To make sure those who are considering becoming contractors can do so successfully, government must take measures such as simplifying the tax system and tackling the culture around late payment.”