The positive outlook, despite the depressed economy, is revelaed in a survey by contractor accountants, SJD Accountancy. Results included:
- 57 per cent said that contracting improved their work/life balance
- 77 per cent find being a contractor more satisfying than being an employee
- Two thirds felt positive about the state of the contracting market
- 86 per cent have positive feelings about being a contractor
- Three quarters are positive about the general outlook of the contractor market, despite almost a third saying they have seen rates being cut in the last six months
- Nearly half have seen no change in rates, with just 18 per cent seeing rates increase
- Three qurters don’t miss the benefits of being an employee
- Less than seven per cent would go back to permanent if an offer was made available
- 43 per cent were less than satisfied with their recruiter
More than three quarters of those surveyed had made a conscious decision to choose contracting as a way of life, and 88 per cent stated that they would class themselves as a 'committed contractor', indicating that the majority are committed to contracting as a way of life and as a long term career option.
More than half stated that there had been a positive effect on their work/life balance since becoming a contractor - and over three quarters said they find contracting more satisfying than being an employee, confirming also that they do not miss the benefits. Only seven per cent of those surveyed said they would definitely go back to being an employee if the offer was available. In fact, only three per cent said that they are unlikely to still be contracting in the next couple of years - and of the other 97 per cent, more than three quarters said they will definitely still be contracting in two years time.
The survey found that the main things that responders enjoy about contracting are higher rates of pay, coupled with more freedom and flexibility in the way they live their lives. These came out clearly above over all others, but were closely followed by no office politics, variety of work, a better work/life balance, being viewed as an industry expert and skill development. Lastly, over two thirds of those surveyed fully expected to be contracting for as long as they have, demonstrating a clear plan, and a commitment to that plan, as a life choice.
Looking at earnings next, over 90 per cent of contractors said that they are earning more than they were as a permanent employee. In fact, over one third are earning more than £500 a day, with almost another third earning between £400 and £500 a day. Two thirds of those surveyed said they have seen rates increase, or at least remain the same, although one third acknowledged that rates had dropped.
When looking at the specific of the ‘contracts’ which responders were currently undertaking, the survey found that just 10 per cent of those asked were not currently in a contract or about to start one, clearly indicating that the majority of contractors are able to find, and keep, a contract on an ongoing basis.
When asked about how they found their current role, more than a third stated that they used their own contacts or got it though recommendation, demonstrating the importance of building and maintaining a personal industry network.
The survey included two questions about people's views on the ease of finding a contract. Almost two thirds of those surveyed said it was very easy or relatively easy to secure their most recent contract, and half stated it had been easier to secure their most recent contract than their previous one, again clearly indicating that the contractor market is alive and well despite a backdrop of uncertainty.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2012