Over 40% of adults in the UK are considering working as a contractor and 36% have already experienced it, according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
Among that 36%, 10% have been employed as contractors and another 11% have worked as freelancers. The remainder have been temporary agency workers at some point in their career, the report showed. Contractor work and freelancing are becoming the preferred career choice for many individuals, commented REC' chief executive Kevin Green. The main incentive is the degree of flexibility provided by such employment. This is especially attractive to the younger workforce, parents and also people nearing retirement.
22% of employees with income of at least £50,000 have been agency workers
Remuneration might also be considered an attractive aspect of freelancing. The report's figures show that 40% of individuals who now make at least £30,000 have been employed as contractors, freelancers or agency workers. Furthermore, 22% of employees with income of at least £50,000 have been agency workers.
Traditionally, freelancing was perceived as a second class job, Green added. However, combining family obligations with work or being able to earn more money make it an appealing prospect. Also, working in temporary roles can enable people to enhance their skills and gain experience that is otherwise hard to acquire.
Instead of being overlooked, individuals who seek to improve their work-life balance must be supported, the REC believes. Businesses around the UK should give contractors and permanent workers an equal footing, ensuring improved cooperation with managers and training opportunities. In addition, the tax system should be simplified and banks should be required to make sure that people working flexibly are not at a disadvantage when it comes to mortgage applications, Green concluded.