A raft of recent reports and comments by recruitment agencies and contractor bodies continues to suggest that self-employment will remain a growing force in the UK labour market, across many disciplines including IT, engineering, oil and gas and finance:
The Professional Contractors Group has suggested that decade-long growth of some 63%, since 2004, shows that self-employment is driving a sea change in the way people and businesses choose to work, as opposed to being a short term affect of the economic downturn, with 4.37m self-employed people now representing 14.5% of the UK's workforce.
A survey of CIOs by the recruiter Robert Half led them to conclude that companies will need to rely heavily on IT contractors over the next 12 months, as the the most likely projects are those where skills are shortest, including business intelligence and analytics, mobile solutions and app development.
Robert Walters said that they expect to see demand for IT professionals across the UK - specifically:
- Project managers, business analysts and Java developers to service major projects in the Midlands
- A mix of business analysts, programme/project managers and developers with digital, mobile and e-commerce skills in the North West (with skills in VMWare, Google Apps, mobile developers, front-end developers and SAS analysts in short supply)
Recruiter Randstad Technologies said that despite more former IT workers being drawn back into the tech market, greater IT training and more computer science graduates, there may still be a shortage of IT resource. They calculate that the UK will need an additional 21,000 It workers by 2050, due to the number of tech start-ups and the growth in specific areas such as data, mobile and security.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has reported recently that nearly half of all clients are expecting to recruit more contractors during 2014, with particular demand in engineering and with large increases in finance and sales recruits between January 2013 and the same month in 2014.
Finally, the Oil and Gas UK Activity Survey and the final report from Sir Ian Wood report both concluded recently that a focus on increased exploration, investment and enhanced recovery of North Sea oil and gas reserves is required if the UK is to fulfil its potential in this area. This, plus a buoyant global market for those with these skills, gained in the North Sea, which are in short supply, continues to present an opportunity for oil and gas contractors.