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Umbrella market boosted by high-end contractors

Umbrella Market Boosted by High-End Contractors

Research has shown that there has been a significant increase in the number of high-end professionals contracting via umbrella companies.

The research, conducted by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and reported in Recruitment International, compared umbrella working in 2015 with 2017.


Key findings in the report include:

  • The average assignment rate has increased, with 73% of workers earning at least £15 per hour, compared to 53% in 2015.
  • The average length of assignment has doubled, with umbrella employees working 29 weeks per assignment, compared to just 14 weeks in 2015
  • Employment length has increased by over 50%, with contractors staying with their chosen umbrella for 46 weeks on average, compared to 30 weeks in 2015.


The chief executive of the FCSA, Julia Kermode, has commented on the findings, noting that the better pay, longer assignments and greater loyalty towards employers indicates that “the market has developed in the last few years and offers stability to those who choose it”.

Kermode also notes that umbrella working offers “all the benefits and rights that come with being an employee”.

Here at Contracting Scout, we’ve also noticed that skilled contractors are increasingly turning towards working via an umbrella company and believe the fact that it offers the “benefits and rights that come with being an employee” is a big part of this.

Following the reforms to IR35 regulations, limited company contractors working in the public sector risk being taxed as if they were permanent employees, while receiving none of the associated benefits.

Working via an umbrella company avoids this issue because IR35 doesn’t apply and contractors can receive sick pay, holiday pay, pension contributions and time off for paternity and maternity leave.

Because we recognise that contractors are increasingly considering switching from operating via a limited company to an umbrella company, we are producing an in-depth guide that will explain the process involved in this and the pros and cons of making the switch.


For more information about our umbrella service providers click here and don’t forget to check back for our latest guide over the coming weeks.