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ContractorCalculator: Contracting news in brief – 13/Sept/2013

Contractor demand reaches twelve-year high after four straight months of growth

Contractor demand reached its highest level since December 2000 during August 2013, as agency billings grew at the strongest rate seen in over 15 years. The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)/KPMG Report on Jobs for August 2013 also showed that all core contracting sectors experienced strong growth. “August was an extraordinary month for the UK jobs market, with temp placements growth hitting a 15 year high,” notes REC chief executive Kevin Green. “Our temporary worker index is the highest we have seen since 1998. The major issue now is the worrying lack of candidates to fill the jobs being advertised.” More...

Contractors acknowledged by government as Vince Cable says they deserve “the greatest credit”

Contractors and the UK’s flexible workforce “deserve the greatest credit” for the part they have played in securing the UK’s economic recovery. This is according to a speech given by business secretary Vince Cable to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in Warwick. PCG chairman Julie Stewart welcomed the recognition, saying: “It’s great that the government is finally recognising how important flexibility is to economic growth. The UK workforce has undoubtedly had to adapt over the last few years and the rise in self-employment is testament to its ability to do that.”

Contractor prospects boosted further by major labour market surveys

Contractors’ prospects received a further boost from two key labour market surveys which confirm that the flexible workforce is very healthy. Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2013 forecasts strong hiring in the finance and business services sector. Morgan McKinley’s August 2013 London Employment Monitor predicts a strong bounce-back in September 2013 after the summer slowdown. “Our report…reveals that 2013 has been a game-changing year for the UK jobs market in a number of key sectors,” highlights ManpowerGroup Solutions UK managing director, James Hick. More...

Financial IT contractors may suffer if the City brain drain continues

Financial IT contractors may lose out if London’s financial sector continues to haemorrhage talent. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) is warning of a ‘brain drain’ of accounting and finance workers, which could damage both the UK’s financial sector and its economy. If the financial sector shrinks, this has a direct impact on IT contractors, as financial institutions are the UK’s second largest consumer of IT contractor services. More...

Oil and gas contractors desperately needed to complete Iraqi energy projects

Oil and gas contractors are in great demand in Iraq, the world’s third largest oil exporter, to complete projects postponed by the recession. Rigzone’s Robin Dupre reports that skills shortages are holding back what the International Energy Agency calls “the highest sustained great in the history of the global oil industry”. NES Global Talent’s Darren Grainger told Rigzone: “The demand for engineers with the necessary expertise and both industry and region-specific experience is increasing”. More...

Self-employment falls sharply during the three months to September 2013

The number of self-employed workers in the UK fell by 27,000 in the three months to September 2013, from a near-historic high of 4.2m to 4.173m. Part-time workers accounted for 15,000 of those leaving self-employment, with full-timers accounting for the remainder. This fall reverses a steep increase in self-employment in the previous quarter to April 2013, making it difficult to identify trends. Overall, unemployment fell and employment rose, suggesting the UK’s labour market continues to be healthy. More...

IT, digital and media contractors to benefit from EC start-up manifesto

Contractors working in IT, digital and media look set to benefit from a range of initiatives that form part of the European Commission’s (EC) ‘Startup Manifesto’. Recognising that digital businesses will underpin future business growth in the EU, the manifesto calls for providing funding and training support to digital entrepreneurs to fill skills gaps and reduce regulation across the EU. “Europe could soon have one million digital jobs to fill,” explains EC vice president Neelie Kroes. “In the current climate, that should be a great opportunity – but Europe doesn't have the right skills”.

Contractors targeting professional and tech SMEs should go direct

Contractors seeking assignments from professional services and technology sector small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) may increase their chances of securing a contract by going direct to the business. That’s because, according to Recruiter, “SMEs hiring 20 to 50 people a year, which traditionally did not have an in-house recruitment function, are creating…jobs in significant numbers”. The trend is driven by a desire to save money and because companies are experiencing high growth. More...

Contractors who used offshore loan schemes face fresh challenges by HMRC

Contractors who used offshore loan schemes between 2008 and 2011 are facing fresh challenges from HMRC. The taxman has written to contractors “opening enquiries into their recent returns” and warned that they can expect to receive assessments from HMRC “over the coming months”. Contractors can either pay up or appeal and have their case heard by a tax tribunal.

Treasury infographic summarises government’s anti-tax avoidance measures

Contractors can gain a snapshot of what the government is doing on the anti-tax avoidance front from a new interactive infographic published by HM Treasury. It highlights that tax evasion is illegal, and refers to avoidance, which is legal, as “bending the rules”. According to the Treasury, tax avoidance “imposes an unfair burden on the honest majority and prevents money from reaching the crucial public services that need it. We want to stop people cheating the tax system and collect more of what’s owed”. More...

Published: 13 September 2013

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