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Contractor Market Responds to Brexit

The effect of the Brexit vote on the contractor and employment market continues to be felt. While there’s been huge volatility in the value of the sterling as ‘hard’ versus ‘soft’ Brexit options are discussed, the contractor jobs market is proving to be fairly resilient according to a range of data.


The monthly REC Report on Jobs figures for September, released last week, showed that both permanent placements and temp billings increased moderately. This follows on from August figures that showed that temp billings had increased at the fastest pace since May. However, the September figures also showed that pay for temporary and contract staff rose at the weakest rate in 40 months.


The REC Director of Policy, Tom Hadley, believes the figures provide further evidence that that UK employers are dealing with the initial shock of the Brexit referendum result. He adds: “There remains a degree of caution in London, where permanent hiring has been on pause for the last five months. This is likely to be because of uncertainty around the longer-term impact of the referendum result within the financial sector in particular.”


From the perspective of a publically listed recruitment firm, the global recruiter PageGroup’s latest results revealed that their UK profits fell 4.7 per cent to £37.8m. PageGroup consists of the combined operations of Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Executive. Chief Executive, Steve Ingham, remarked that confidence levels remain fragile in the UK and below levels seen earlier in the year and that this is particularly impacting on their multinational clients. Page Personnel represents 22 per cent of the group’s UK business and has a greater proportion of temporary roles. It saw a decline of three per cent, whereas the Michael Page part of the group saw a bigger drop of five per cent in the UK. Several of the group’s markets are seeing a lower number of permanent positions being filled and an increase in the hiring of lower-risk temporary positions.


Overall it seems that while the contractor and employment market is responding to uncertain times well, it’s impossible to predict what is around the corner. This uncertainty can be positive for contactors, as employers may delay permanent hiring decisions in favour of more flexible contractor options. Remaining responsive and flexible, the hallmarks of a successful contractor, will be essential in this unique employment landscape.


If you’re a contractor feeling the pinch of the current economic climate, we can help you maximise the return you get from your contract work and put you in touch with the right providers to help you manage your everyday finances. To speak with an experienced consultant please contact us today.