Demand for specialised contractors key to 2014

The outlook for 2014 looks bright for contractors, especially those with niche skills. According to a recent Manpower report, the first quarter of this year is set to be very positive for contractors with specialised skills and qualifications.

Those who work within the information technology sector will do particularly well at the start of 2014, according the recruitment firm’s recent report.

With cloud technology set to really take off this year, any contractors with skills that relate to cloud security or have data governance skills will be widely sought after by clients across the UK.

However, it isn’t just the IT sector that is set create optimism among contractors, with eight per cent of employers expecting to hire new staff this year.

What’s more, some 48 per cent of employers said that they would look to take on more agency and temporary workers over Q1 of 2014, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey of employers from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Some 38 per cent of businesses plan to increase the amount of agency workers they use throughout the year, further providing a positive outlook for contractors this year.

It stands to reason to assume that many of the firms that are looking to recruit temporary staff will need professionals that have specific skills and qualifications.

The report also says that employer optimism is a common theme regarding the year ahead, with 43 per cent of respondents predicting that 2014 will be much better than 2013.

One of the main reasons for Manpower’s optimistic predictions for 2014 is a skills shortage in the UK. The IT sector is suffering more than most in this regard.

Employers need contractors with a good mix of experience and skill to fulfill certain tasks, which is why any contractors in the IT sector should be looking forward to a good year.

With the economy showing the first signs of a tentative recovery, many businesses will be starting to think about the opportunities for growth that may come with it. However, due to the relative uncertainty in terms if the longevity of this recovery, employers could still be tentative when it comes to taking on new staff.

Contractors who want to take advantage of this may wish to maximise their time and efficiency by working through an umbrella company. For those asking the question ‘what is an umbrella company?” the answer is simple, it is a firm that takes care of the admin and financial aspect of freelancing so that a contractor can place more emphasis on their current contract.

This could work in the favour of contractors in the UK. According to the Professional Contractor Group’s 2011 report regarding the freelance workforce, employers can turn to contractors in times of economic uncertainty.

The reason for this being that contractors cost less (no sick or holiday pay to cover) and that a freelancer is available a temporary basis, meaning that if the economic climate does take a turn for the worst, a contract can be terminated with relative ease.