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How loyal are contractors to their profession?

This is just one of many findings from the survey, which had approximately 1,600 temporary workers answering questions on their sector, prospects and confidence levels for the future.

The survey respondents worked across a variety of sectors, including construction, IT, engineering, oil & gas, education, health & social care, accountancy & finance, office professionals and energy.


The results of the insights survey show that contractors are generally loyal, with 76% having never left a position without completing the assignment.

However, almost 50% of respondents said they may consider leaving a contract before its end date in the future, but this also indicates that more than half would never dream of doing so.

What's more, 76% was just the overall average, with loyalty levels above this in a number of sectors.  For example, 81% of education contractors completed their assignments, as did 80% of workers in both the IT and accountancy & finance sectors.

Such loyalty amongst contractors is supported by the findings of recent research from the University of Brighton, which revealed that temporary workers are among the happiest in the UK and find working on a contract basis much more fulfilling than working as a permanent employee.

Speaking to the Sunday Times in January 2015, the university's Dr Jonathan Sapsed explained, "For many, freelancing is emerging as the ideal lifestyle, especially in creative and digital industries where people can work from any location, including home, and which demand high levels of innovation."

PayStream’s survey also identified the most popular reasons as to why contractors and freelancers may be tempted to leave a role early, with perhaps unsurprisingly 81% of respondents citing better pay as the key factor.

With regards to a contractor’s loyalty to their agency, when a contract does come to an end the majority of temporary workers will use agencies to find their next role and the survey identified that 56% of contractors register with 2 – 5 agencies, so they like to keep their options open.  


So what might be driving this sense of loyalty?

When asked how they felt about the future, a significant number of survey respondents reported that they felt confident about their prospects with 65% expecting it to be easy to secure their next contract.  Health & social care were the most optimistic with 73% noting that it will be easy to secure their next contract.

In addition, confidence around prospects was high among legal workers with 70% expecting it to be easy and similarly 66% of accountancy contractors thought the same.

This sense of optimism is in line with the findings of the recently published Freelancer Confidence Index from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) and Elance-oDesk, which found that most contractors and freelancers are feeling good about their 2015 prospects.

Co-author of the index and IPSE research manager Suneeta Johal commented, "The survey shows a strong end to 2014 with freelance businesses performing well. The results suggest the number of contracts will continue to grow and capacity for freelancers will increase as demand for services rises."

In contrast, PayStream’s survey identified that contractors in the energy and oil & gas industries were the most pessimistic, with just 42% feeling good about the ease of finding their next contract, while those in human resources roles were not far behind, with only half optimistic about what lies ahead.

Future plans

The majority may be feeling optimistic about the year ahead, but what might the future hold for the UK's contractors?

Paul Malley, managing director at PayStream said, “Our survey findings also support the feeling that optimism is high in the contractor community at the moment with 65% of respondents to the PayStream survey believing that it will be easy for them to secure their next contract and 68% expecting their pay to increase with their next contract.

This optimism is further supported by the fact that the number of freelancers in the UK has grown 12% in the last four years to around 1.6 million according to The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE).

The contractor market is clearly going from strength to strength.”


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