Contractors clustering in the most affluent parts of the UK
The Professional Representation Network says that highly skilled professional contractors can now command high rates of pay enabling them to live in some of the most affluent urban and rural areas of the UK.
In the top ten London boroughs for contractors, contractors make up on average 14.5% of the working population compared to an average of 11.9% for all of London (see graph below).
Contractors are choosing to live in some of the most affluent boroughs such as Barnet (18%), Kensington & Chelsea (18%) and Richmond upon Thames (13.6%).
Unsurprisingly, the capital is a major draw for contractors as the city offers ample opportunities for work in a range of sectors including financial services, IT, mobile technology and professional services.
More unexpectedly, contractors are also choosing to locate in rural areas such as include South Lakeland (21.3%) in the Lake District, Dorset (18.7%) and West Devon (18.5%). Strict planning restrictions in these areas, which contain designated National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ensure that the housing stock is of unusually high quality.
The nature of contractors’ work means they do not always have to be in an office. With the increase in broadband speeds and the growth in cloud computing remote working is becoming commonplace.
Research by the Professional Representation Network found that local authorities with the highest population of contractors amongst their workforce (where an average of 15% of the working population are self-employed or contractors) average weekly earnings stand at £524 (see graph below).
By contrast, in the local authorities with the lowest proportion of contractors (where just 6.6% of the total workforce are self-employed/contractors) weekly earnings are far lower – averaging only £487 (see graph below).
The Professional Representation Network says that for many in-demand, highly skilled professionals, contracting is an increasingly popular career choice as it combines higher than average earnings with the opportunity to work where and when they want.
The Professional Representation Network explains that typically, contractors work in IT, mobile technology, oil & gas, engineering and financial services – all high earning sectors that value strong technical and professional skills.
Kristian Gourlay, Director at the Professional Representation Network, comments: “Contractors now command higher than average incomes making contracting an appealing career choice. Earning above national average incomes means that contractors can pick and choose where to live in and that means they are clustering in some of the most desirable areas in the UK.”
“The contracting market has matured in the last few years as the model offers flexibility to the contractor and the companies using their services. The more aware professionals become of contracting and its benefits more will opt for this as a career path.”
The Professional Research Network explains that they have responded to this change in lifestyle by establishing networking opportunities for its members and offering a range of services to help contractors manage their career.
Kristian Gourlay adds: “It is important for contractors, particularly if they are based in rural areas to be able to plug into a network of their peers and have access to the support they need that can help them in their latest role.”
“The Professional Representation Network gives its members access to a wide range of opportunities to network with their peers and the very best recruitment firms. We also provide a talent management service that helps with personal finance issues such as mortgages and insurance and assists the contractor in developing their career leading to an increase in income.”