Growing optimism among healthcare contractors over pay
Growing optimism among healthcare contractors over pay despite public sector pay freeze
Contractors now consider longer term contracts more important than hourly rate
Healthcare contractors are increasingly optimistic about pay despite the public sector pay freeze and looming spending cuts, according to research by giant group plc, the contractor services provider.
70% of healthcare contractors expect to see their incomes rise this year, up from 65% last year.
According to giant, contractors may not be affected by the pay freeze that will hit other public sector healthcare professionals.
The Chancellor announced a two-year pay freeze for public sector workers earning above 21,000 in the Coalition Government's first Budget on 22 June 2010.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, says: The vast majority of healthcare contractors expect their pay to rise despite the pay freeze for public sector workers. There is still a degree of uncertainty as to how the pay freeze will affect contractors. Whether budgets will accommodate pay expectations will be a key issue in the coming year.
There is a question mark over whether public sector employers have done enough to manage the pay expectations of their contractors.
He adds: There are still significant skills shortages in the healthcare sector, and with NHS budgets ring-fenced from cuts, there will still be opportunities for contractors over the next 12 months. The moratorium on hiring which many public sector bodies have in place could feed through to greater use of contractors in the medium term to deal with spikes in workload.
The research by giant also reveals that long term joblessness among healthcare contractors has edged up slightly over the year. 6.7% of healthcare professionals spent 90 days or more out of work last year, compared to 6.1% in 2009.
Matthew Brown says: It has become marginally more difficult for contract healthcare professionals to find work over the past year, but not to the extent that was feared when the cutbacks were first mooted
According to giant, concern about the availability of jobs has made healthcare professionals more conscious about job security. 50.5% of healthcare contractors would now prefer a longer term contract over a higher hourly rate, compared to 39.4% last year.Comments Matthew Brown: This is quite a dramatic change of emphasis. During candidate-led employment markets, contractors usually put the priority on higher hourly pay, but in the space of a year contractors have become much more focused on job security as the cutbacks take hold.