The festive season may be over for another year, but there’s no reason to be struck down by the January blues if you’re a professional career contractor.

Here’s our take on why 2014 looks set to be a great year for Parasol contractor employees and other members of the UK’s skilled contingent workforce:

1) Economic conditions are improving

Several recent surveys and reports suggest that the economic recovery is gathering pace after years of stagnation. The stats on job creation, business confidence, IT investment, manufacturing output and construction activity all seem to suggest that we’re finally ready to throw off the shackles of recession. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has updated its growth forecasts and expects GDP to surpass its pre-recession peak this year.

2) Contractors are in demand

Demand for contractors continued to strengthen across all core sectors and disciplines in late 2013, with demand for IT specialists hitting a 32-month high in November. This trend looks set to continue and even accelerate this year.

3) Rates are rising

Like the rest of the working population, many contractors’ earnings have been relatively flat in recent years. That now seems to be changing, with contractors able to demand a higher rate for their services. This is particularly true in sectors experiencing skill shortages (see point 4 below).

4) Contractors can plug technical skills gaps

Professional contractors working in sectors such as oil & gas, engineering and advanced manufacturing are ideally placed to meet growing demand for niche, technical skills. Companies working in these sectors are struggling to identify and recruit candidates with the right skills, so contractors have a fantastic opportunity to step in and fill the gap. Click the following link to read more about why the UK’s skills shortage is good news for contractors.

5) Big data and the cloud are driving new opportunities

Whether or not you think Big data is a genuine game changer for the world of business, a growing desire amongst organisations to capture and analyse the vast amounts of data they hold is undoubtedly creating new opportunities for contractors with the right skills. The same can be said of the cloud. Indeed, a recent survey found that IT contractors with data governance and cloud security skills are “hugely in demand” and able to command a daily rate of up to £1,000.

6) Shale gas will re-energise contractors

In December, a government-commissioned report found that fracking has the potential to generate one fifth of Britain’s gas demand at peak and create up to 32,000 jobs. The report was published just weeks after chancellor George Osborne used his Autumn Statement to unveil a tax break for fracking companies. A thriving shale gas industry would mean strong demand and new opportunities for contractors working in oil & gas. Meanwhile, the coalition’s recent decision to boost subsidies for offshore wind farms is positive news for contractors working in renewable energy and engineering.

7) The legislative landscape looks favourable

Career contractors who work for compliant, UK-based employment providers like Parasol needn’t worry about proposed legislation to combat offshore umbrella companies and onshore ‘false self-employment’. Parasol contractor employees can look forward to a year of ‘business as usual’.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Are you a career contractor? Do you feel confident about your prospects for 2014? Why not leave a comment below or tweet us @parasolgroup. We would love to hear from you.

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