Could more UK workers be set to make the move to contracting in 2018 in search of greater control and flexibility in their working lives?
Now that 2018 is well underway and UK workers have had a chance to polish off the last of the Christmas chocolates and get fully back into work mode, they've been able to set out their career goals for the coming year.
Online recruiter CV-Library has compiled many of these into a list of the workplace trends that it believes will be big over the next 12 months, and among them are several factors that indicate contracting and freelancing could suit an even greater number of workers as the year goes on.
Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of CV-Library, commented: "Many organisations will seek to improve their attraction, recruitment and retention methods in 2018, and we hope that businesses across the UK take the time to consider how they can accommodate these trends in their organisations."
So, what do workers want in 2018?
Flexible working has been dubbed as a top trend each year for the last few years, but research from CV-Library has shown that as many as two-thirds of workers still lose the equivalent of 16 working days each year due to long commutes to their job.
As a result, more workers than ever want to be able to work from home or choose their own working hours to tailor their professional lives to suit their personal lives.
Making the decision to become a limited company contractor or freelancer allows workers to do this, so self-employed numbers may be set to increase further this year as more workers choose to wave goodbye to the long daily commute for good.
More control over pay
Another area of their working lives that people want more control over in 2018 is how much they are paid for the work that they do. The gender pay gap continues to be an issue, with statistics showing that 87.9 per cent of women believe they have been paid less than a male counterpart doing the same work as them in the past.
The issue has become more high-profile in recent times as the media has shone light on bosses and companies that have paid women less because of their gender, and this trend looks set to continue over the next 12 months.
However, women can decide their own worth and charge the pay rates they feel they deserve, whilst remaining competitive with other contractors who have the same skills, if they are working for themselves as limited company contractors.
An improved work-life balance
A desire for greater flexibility and control dominates the last of these highlights from CV-Library's report too: the fact that UK workers need to spend this year getting a better hold on their work-life balance.
Data from the recruiter's research shows that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of the country's workforce regularly do more than their contracted hours, while over one-third (36.7 per cent) of workers put in the equivalent of at least 13 extra days of productivity each year.
These findings indicate that work is possibly taking over a significant number of people's personal lives. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as pressure from their boss, a demanding workload or attitudes in their workplace dictating that long hours are more important than anything else.
This is often another reason behind why people choose to pack in the nine-to-five and become their own boss. Contracting and freelancing allow workers to take time off when they need to (after informing relevant clients, of course), as well as to attend important occasions and fit in their workload around any personal commitments.