Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Better work/life balance enjoyed by 70% of Contractors

As revealed in latest SJD Contractor Attitude Survey

SJD Accountancy, the UK's largest contractor accountants, today announced the findings of their most recent detailed survey on contactor attitudes covering July to December 2012.

This bi-annual 30 question survey was carried out across SJD's 12,000+ contractor client base in December 2012. The survey provides a unique insight into the contractor market over the last six months and also some interesting comparisons to the previous survey between January and June 2012.

The results of the latest survey, which attracted a similar volume of responses to the 1,000+ received in June, saw the following key changes:

  • 74% saw their daily rate ‘increase’ or remain ‘unchanged’ with only 21% seeing their rate reduce - a reduction of 9% from the last survey.
  • 13% more said that contracting has improved their work/life balance - an increase from 57% to 70%.
  • Only 11% said contracting has had a negative effect on their work/life balance - 7% less than last time.
  • 86% have seen their most recent contract extended - up 3% in only six months.
  • 19% found their contract directly with the end client - a 5% increase on the last survey.
  • 63% have had a positive experience with recruiters - up 6% from June 2012.
  • Contractors overall feeling towards being a contractor increased by 6%.

SJD Contractor Attitude Survey Part 2Overall contractors are more buoyant about contracting, daily rates and finding work.

This was also reinforced by questions relating to whether contracting was more satisfying than being an employee - 79% said yes.

We asked whether those surveyed thought they would still be contracting for the next couple of years - 83% up from 81% confirmed they would.

Four out of five said they did not miss the perks and benefits of full time employment, demonstrating a continued and ongoing positive outlook on contracting as a way of life.

Continuing with the way in which contracting affects work/life balance, we were delighted to see that this figure jumped from 57% who stated 'positive' in the last survey to a very healthy 70% now, well over two thirds.

A fifth of all contractors are now in their 50s and 60s, which is a 25% increase on the last survey.

As in the last survey, we asked people to tell us how easy it was to secure their current contract and we were pleased to see that almost two thirds of those surveyed stated they found it relatively easy.

In terms of contract location, Scotland showed a slight increase of 2% whilst London showed a decrease of 4% - though still demonstrating that almost half of all contracts are based in the London. And lastly, in terms of anticipated contract length, those who stated 'a year or more' increased from 24% during the first half of 2012 to 29% in the 2nd half, indicating a growing confidence in the longer term. Likewise, the number of people whose current contract was extended remained high, increasing even further from 83% to 86%.

A full breakdown of the survey results can be found at:   

About the survey group

As with the previous survey, well over three quarters of contractors were men, primarily in their 30s and 40s - but with an increased level of respondents overall in their 50s and 60s. The public/private sector split also remained the same, at 20% and 80%. Just under half worked in IT and almost a quarter in finance, with job roles in the top 40% being split evenly between project managers and IT developers. Other smaller industry sectors included professional services, manufacturing and construction, whilst other job roles primarily included business consultants, engineers and management consultants.