Although IR35 and Covid-19 have dealt a combined blow to the temporary employment industry, those working in self-employed or temporary positions are set to enjoy a much better 12 months ahead than recent years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has in June reported a 21,000 monthly increase in working freelancers, interim managers and contractors – the second month-on-month increase in self-employed work since the start of the pandemic – signalling the beginning of recovery for self-employed work across the UK.
With some sectors firmly on the road to recovery post-Covid, and others already steaming ahead with growth plans, contract specialists will be a core part of British and international business growth in the coming years. Generate’s payroll and contractor management specialists reveal the top five most popular contract roles for 2021 and 2022.
Top 5 Contract Roles to Take Up in 2021 and 2022
1. Tech/IT Contractor
The IT sector presents the best opportunity for contractors searching for a better work/life balance. 84% of workers want more flexibility in their professional lives, and the IT sector has long been the most pioneering industry regarding remote work and self-chosen hours. Following Covid-19, the list of companies newly embracing flexible working as a standard were overwhelmingly represented by tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Snowflake, Salesforce, HubSpot and Spotify.
By 2030, more than 85 million jobs will be unfilled across the globe, with digital, infrastructure, security and technical remits making up a considerable portion. The long-established and continually growing tech skills shortages are impacting almost every industry across countries, meaning that those with IT skills can take their pick from a huge variety of exciting projects. The top five most in-demand IT skills for 2021 include:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning (ML)
- Data Science & Analytics
- Data Engineering & Visualization
- Cyber Security
2. Insurance Specialist
Insurance ranks as the industry least affected by Covid-19, with Multi-Line, Life, Health, Property and Casualty Insurance the most profitable and secure sub-sectors. Those taking on contract roles as Project Managers in the Insurance sector can command high day rates, work directly with individuals and teams across the globe, and play an integral part in the delivery of short-term business-critical projects and the long-term growth of the company.
Those on fixed-term contracts in the Insurance industry can enjoy a benefits package unlike those of any other industry, including practical and helpful options such as generous pension contributions, income protection, life insurance and assurance, discounts on financial products and extensive holiday allowances.
3. Supply Teacher
With the UK already experiencing a shortage of 40,000 skilled teaching professionals before 2020, experienced educators will be in even greater demand post-Covid. Half of British supply teachers are currently aged 50 or over, meaning heads can anticipate a need to actively engage with teaching agencies and build relationships with supply teachers, and supply teachers can anticipate lower competition when applying for roles. The mental health crisis hitting those working in education will ramp up further demand, as permanent staff take long periods of leave and increasingly decide to exit the profession.
After building strong relationships and communication with teaching agencies, supply teachers can enjoy significantly reduced stress levels compared to permanent colleagues. Without long-term pressures, teachers on contract arrangements are able to focus more on lesson planning and delivering excellent standards of teaching through engaging lessons. In addition to benefiting from flexibility and greater work/life balance, cover teachers are also usually paid notably more than permanent colleagues, earning well for hours worked, with weekly take-home pay.
4. Engineer / Construction Technician
Despite Brexit and Covid-19, the construction industry is booming, with a plethora of new housing developments, commercial property and public spaces already in development or set to begin in the year ahead. Major projects with confirmed start dates in 2021 include:
- HS2 – The controversial high-speed railway connecting Northern and Southern England and Scotland presents one of UK’s largest civil infrastructure programmes, with a projected cost around £98billion. The project currently employs over 1,500 people and will utilise a vast skilled workforce for many years ahead, to open Phase 1 (London to Birmingham) in 2026 and Phase 2 (Leeds to Manchester) by 2033.
- Dogger Bank A – The world’s largest offshore wind farm will power 6million British homes. Located in the North East of England, the multibillion-pound project will produce the UK’s biggest single source of renewable energy.
- The Stag Brewery – The London building is undergoing an innovative redevelopment to encompass a range of uses including residential, retail, office, community, recreational and educational, as well as many new active open and green public spaces. The exhibition and trade centre will be a core part of the capital’s new modern way to experience cities post-Covid and encouraging new ways to work and live.
5. Business Analyst
A Business Analyst position is perfectly suited to individuals who enjoy the contracting lifestyle and its benefits. Contractors in Business Analyst roles have day-to-day flexibility in projects and tasks, due to the nature of the role’s involvement across each area of an organisation and all its activities, providing a fresh challenge and exciting work throughout an assignment. Experienced Business Analysts switching to contract roles can command higher pay, have more choice over which projects to work on and more control over projects when working on them, and can expand their skill sets much more quickly.
The U.S. Department of Labour projects that demand for Business and Management Analysts will grow 14% from 2018 to 2028 – much faster than average for the majority of all other occupations – due to the need for organisations to control costs and improve efficiencies. This trend is set to continue in the UK and across the globe as organisations recover and drive growth plans post-Covid, requiring top skills in data and analysis.
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