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Why IT contractors are living the dream

The growth of the Internet of Things, Big Data and machine learning has led many businesses to invest not just in their Cloud infrastructure, but the interconnectivity of their entire organisation

Here, Graham Smith, head of marketing at Microsoft recruitment partner, Curo Talent explains why we've now seen a surge in opportunities for the top tech talent in the UK.

There has never been a better time to be an IT contractor. As the technology sector evolves, so do the skills required of the workforce that on boards and optimises such technology. It's therefore no surprise that employers without the right access to the talent pool, are finding it increasingly challenging to secure the right individuals for their business needs. This certainly puts the coveted freelancer in a very good position.


Think like He-Man. Whenever he raises his sword, the superhero exclaims, "I have the power". IT freelancers also have the same power — and they don’t even need the sword.

With this increase in demands for IT specialists, it's no surprise that the Curo Talent IT Forecast 2017, showed that 69 per cent of respondents expected IT staff salaries to rise compared with the previous year.  Similarly, other research has found there is now more demand for solo workers than permanent employees.

As appealing as rising salaries are, this doesn't automatically make a career the best option. There are many people leaving high paying, high flying jobs because they simply aren't fulfilled. Our research for IT Talent Acquisition; the candidate’s view showed that ‘interesting work’ was a significant driver for IT workers when choosing a job.

But the proof is in the pudding, why has there been an increase in people breaking the nine to five grind, to embark on the freelancer journey? The Professional Contractors Group estimated that there are 1.4 million British freelancers working across all sectors, which has grown by 14 per cent in the past decade.

The flexibility of working where you want and when you want is undeniable. It allows people to really have a say in their career, routine and quality of life. The realisation that you may not know where you're working in a month's time now seems less daunting, and more freeing.

Some may argue that freelancers are missing out on a whole host of workplace benefits, from sick pay to bonuses. Yet interestingly, a survey by Contractor Calculator revealed that 80 per cent of self-employed workers do not want any workplace benefits whatsoever.  The overwhelming signal from the survey was that freelancers value independence over workplace benefits.

However, this lifestyle is not without its challenges. The announcement of reforms to the IR35 tax bracket in the public sector could see contractors supporting frontline government services lose up to 30 per cent of their take-home salary. This has meant some freelancers have increased their ‘public sector rate’ to compensate for the additional tax.

While IR35 is here to stay and may result in independent professionals paying more tax, it certainly doesn’t dull any of the pros of contracting. Remember, freelancers have the power when negotiating contracts, to adjust both the rate and contractual terms.

As the technology sector continues to develop, with the ongoing need for mobile app developers, cloud hosting and a fully interconnected workplace, we can only expect to see more contractors raise their power swords, and embrace a lifestyle that is truly fulfilling and lucrative.