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ContractorCalculator: Contracting news in brief – 04/Mar/2016

Contractors vital to ensuring oil and gas sector avoids “brain drain”

Oil and gas contractors are essential to ensuring the industry doesn’t suffer from a “brain drain” once oil prices begin to pick up again. This is according to the Hays’ Oil and Gas Global Salary Guide 2016, which encourages firms to continue to engage with contractors in order to avoid future skills shortages. Encouragingly, firms responding to the survey remain optimistic that the market could see an upturn before the end of 2016. In the meantime, contract opportunities in the North Sea are likely to remain scarce, although contractors short on work may be able to source opportunities through exploring decommissioning opportunities or by assisting with mergers between oil majors. More...

Buoyant contract market could be derailed by Brexit fears, warns REC’s Green

Contractors continue to enjoy favourable market conditions, as clients supplement growth and innovation through contingent hires, but fears over the UK’s possible exit from the European Union (EU) may dampen this optimism. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) JobsOutlook for February 2016 shows that 98% of clients plan to either maintain or increase contractor numbers over the next three months. Meanwhile, an increasing number (nine in ten) report to use contractors primarily to plug skills gaps. However, REC chief executive Kevin Green warns that the buoyant market climate could be cut short if Brexit fears restrict access to the global labour market: “We need more skilled people to fill job vacancies in the UK, not fewer.” More...

Contracting organisation welcomes German revision of employment status

Contracting lobby group the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has welcomed the announcement that the German Government has revised proposed legislation regarding the employment status of contractors, the Recruiter reports. In November 2015, the German Government proposed to limit assignments of ‘leased’ workers to 18 months, meaning any contractor engaged beyond this period would be classed as an employee. APSCo campaigned against the proposal, arguing it would blur the lines between freelance and employed relationships. “Until the revised legislation is either adopted or dropped, we will continue to pay close attention,” adds managing director of APSCo Germany Tremayne Elson. More...

Contractor prospects improve as a result of slowing growth

Contractors may benefit from the slowing cross-sector momentum seen during February 2016. The latest Purchasing Managers’ Indexes (PMIs) from Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) reveal that reduced rates of expansion in all three sectors have resulted in near-stagnant staffing levels across the board. Counter-intuitively, this works in contractors’ favour as client choose low risk contingent workers rather than employees. This month’s PMIs highlight:

  • The UK manufacturing sector continued its 35-month sequence of expansion in February. However, the latest UK Manufacturing PMI shows the growth rate slumped to a seven-month low, led by sharp decelerations in consumer and investment goods. As a result, the sector continued to make mild cuts to its permanent workforce, leaving the door open for contractors to plug gaps.
  • Contractors in the construction sector fared well during February. The UK Construction PMI shows a similarly moderated pace of expansion but contractor demand continued to grow. Business optimism amongst firms dipped to its lowest since December 2014, although “survey respondents noted that underlying business conditions remained favourable”.
  • Contractor demand in the services sector also continued to rise in February, but it did so at the slowest pace in two-and-a-half years. The UK Services PMI attributes this to weakened sector growth caused by a moderated rise in business activity, itself impacted by the “increasing risk of ‘Brexit’ and financial market growth”.

Contractors lured into tax avoidance schemes by ‘persuasive promoters’

Contractors who engaged in tax avoidance schemes were aware that they were ‘at the edge of tax law’, but were encouraged to participate by the persuasive language of ‘introducers’. A recent HMRC study into engagement in tax avoidance schemes reveals that contractors were exposed to such schemes through various sources, including advisors with whom they had an existing relationship, and accountancy firms with whom they had no prior relationship. According to HMRC, promoters would use several tactics to make the schemes seem more appealing, including making formal presentations and presenting logical arguments to make the schemes appear more tax efficient and legitimate. More...

Contractor business rates and tax system should receive Budget boost

Limited company contractors and other small businesses must receive backing from the Government in its upcoming Budget submission. This is according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which is calling for a simplified small business tax regime centred on single tax payment, the Press and Journal reports. “Many [contractors and small businesses] are struggling to get to grips with the cumulative impact of a series of new tax and regulatory changes,” notes FSB policy director Mike Cherry. “It’s crucial that the Chancellor uses the Budget to reassure small firms and boost their confidence so that they invest and drive economic growth.” More...

Contractor demand growth outpacing permanent hires

Contractor demand growth in the professional staffing market is outpacing that of permanent hires. New survey data from APSCo reveals that there are now 6% more contract vacancies, compared with this time last year. Meanwhile, demand for permanent staff has risen by 2%. The driving force behind the growth was again found to be the finance sector, where contract vacancies have increased by 10%. “The recruitment profession is responding to the structural change in the jobs market, as organisations and contractors alike reap the economic benefits of working on a flexible basis,” notes APSCo chief executive Ann Swain. More...

Contractors can address skills gap concerns for US firms

Contractors are increasingly being used by US companies as a means of closing talent gaps and enhancing workforce talent. Recruitment solutions provider Adecco’s ‘Definitive Guide to Building a Better Workforce’ notes that eight in ten (80%) C-Suite executives agree that skills shortages are a major issue, whilst more than half (53%) consider it to be the biggest HR challenge they currently face. 76% are responding by engaging with the contingent workforce. Meanwhile, 44% of “Best-in-Class” companies – firms with low turnover rates and sizeable revenue growth – are deemed 44% more likely to increase the size of their contractor workforce over the next 1-2 years. More...

Published: 04 March 2016

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