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Scottish contractors reject independence

With the September 18th referendum looming, accountancy firm ClearSky Contractor Accounting polled its Scotland-based clients to assess the mood amongst members of the country’s skilled flexible workforce. 

Of 275 respondents, 62.5% said they would vote against independence if the referendum was held tomorrow, compared to 32.1% who were in favour of separation. A further 5.4% indicated they would abstain.

Concerns over assignment rates

Overall, the economy was seen as the most important factor in deciding which way to vote.

Most respondents (59.7%) thought Scotland’s economy would suffer if it breaks away from the UK. Only 33.3% felt the country would be better off, while 7% believed there would be no discernible impact.

Perhaps most worrying for Alex Salmond and the & lsquo;yes’ campaign is the fact that many contractors and freelancers believed their career prospects would be damaged if the nation becomes independent.

Indeed, although most of ClearSky’s Scottish clients believed it was too early to tell what the impact would be on their career prospects, 28.6% thought they would be adversely affected in terms of assignment availability and their prospects in general

A further 21.4% expected to see a fall in assignment rates should Scotland separate from the UK. This is compared to just 12.5% who anticipated a boost to their earning power.

Sector breakdown

Finance and accounting contractors bucked the overall trend by coming out in favour of independence – the only sub-group to do so. Some 55.6% stated they would welcome breaking away from the UK, while 44.4% wanted to maintain the union.

Meanwhile, ClearSky’s research suggests that the majority of Scottish oil & gas contractors (62.5%) are against the idea of an independent nation, with 12.5% believing it would hamper their career prospects. Not one respondent felt they would benefit personally from independence.

The majority (60.9%) of IT and technology contractors indicated they would vote against independence.

As with oil and gas contractors, IT professionals were unsure as to what effect independence would have on their career prospects and ability to secure assignments.

Of those that ventured an opinion, 21.6% anticipated a decline in fortunes, compared to 17.4% who expected to see an improvement.

Food for thought for Salmond and the SNP

Analysing the survey results, which are outlined in this online report, ClearSky managing director Derek Kelly said: “As someone who grew up in Edinburgh, the referendum is a subject close to my heart.

“Our findings provide a telling snapshot into the thoughts of Scottish contractors and freelancers in the run-up to the referendum.

“Clearly the economy and individual prosperity are the key issues for our clients. It will be interesting to see what measures the & lsquo;yes’ campaign will implement to try and resolve the concerns expressed by many contractors and freelancers.

“As our report states, despite the scepticism towards independence there is still a high degree of uncertainty amongst Scotland’s growing army of freelancers.

“This suggests that – as with the electorate in general – there is still plenty to play for in the contest between the & lsquo;yes’ and & lsquo;Better Together’ campaigns.”

Click here to view the online report, which analyses the survey results in more depth and includes observations from several ClearSky clients. 

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