There looks to be plenty of opportunities for both umbrella company contractors and limited company contractors across the UK jobs market at present, a new report reveals.
Opportunities for contractors in the UK are currently in a healthy condition, with more businesses willing to work with agency workers this year than they were 12 months ago.
This finding comes from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC's) Jobs Outlook survey for March to May 2018, which found that companies are largely confident about the British economy and their hiring plans at present, despite Brexit looming.
So, does this signal good news for both umbrella company contractors and limited company contractors across all sectors? Let's take a look.
How confident are UK businesses right now?
The latest Jobs Outlook report registered a positive outlook for the second consecutive quarter, with one-third (32 per cent) of the companies questioned reporting confidence in the UK's economy at present. As such, 31 per cent of respondents said they expect hiring to improve over the next few months, with opportunities for both umbrella company contractors and limited company contractors likely to increase as a result.
Overall, 23.2 per cent of organisations expect to take on a 'slightly' higher number of contractors in the coming three months, while four per cent anticipate that their hiring of agency workers will increase 'greatly'.
Over the medium to long term, meanwhile, 7.2 per cent of businesses are expecting to take on a significant number of new agency workers, and 23.7 per cent are planning to hire 'slightly' more.
This means that there should be plenty of opportunities available for contractors over the coming year, with some skills and areas of expertise more in demand than others.
Where are contractors most in demand?
The Jobs Outlook showed that the industry facing the biggest shortage of temporary workers at the moment is the marketing, media and creative sector, meaning experienced umbrella company contractors and limited company contractors in this field are likely to be in particularly high demand.
The report also showed that there has been an increase of eight per cent in the number of companies expecting to be faced with a shortage of skilled permanent workers.
Tom Hadley, Director of Policy at the REC, commented: "It is great to see that employers are feeling more confident in making hiring decisions within their businesses.
"However, there is a growing concern with the lack of candidates available for key roles - this is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK jobs market."
As a result, more employers may turn to agency workers to fill gaps in their workforce, potentially even paying more for access to their skills.
Indeed, the REC also found that five per cent more businesses are satisfied with the quality of agency hires than they were 12 months ago, which suggests that the level of competition that contractors face is on the up.
With this in mind,contractors should make sure they are staying on top of the latest developments in their industry, working on their skillsets to ensure they match with what businesses are after.
Why do companies turn to contractors?
Many businesses rely on contractors to help open up extra capacity for their organisation, enabling them to be more productive and meet targets.
A total of 33 per cent of survey respondents revealed that they currently have no spare capacity and therefore need contractors to open this up for them. An additional 42 per cent admitted to currently having only a little capacity, suggesting they will also be looking for extra support from agency workers in the near future.
Compared to last year, 16 per cent more businesses are now using contractors to manage uncertainty within their organisation - a trend that may become even more common as the official date for Britain to exit the European Union draws nearer.
What's more, there has been growth of ten per cent in the number of companies that admit to turning to umbrella company contractors and limited company contractors to gain access to key strategic skills, further demonstrating just how valuable these workers can be to businesses and, indeed, the wider economy.