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IT and project management workers say government not on their side, according to research

Only 17% of contractors working in IT or project management (PM) think the government is on the side of contractors. The research, by The Pulse Umbrella Group, surveyed over 150 contractors in the United Kingdom.


“It’s hardly surprising that contractors don’t think that the government is fighting their corner,” said Chris Futcher, CEO of The Pulse Umbrella Group. “The government seems to be more interested in adding red tape and reducing the financial incentives to become a contractor, rather than encouraging this flexible and often highly skilled part of the UK workforce, which many industries rely on.”


April 2016 saw changes to the rules around when some contractors could claim for travel and subsistence costs as well as a new dividends tax regime. While these changes will generally reduce contractors’ take home pay, the group says remuneration is not the primary motivation for these workers.


The research found that for over a third of IT and PM contractors (34%), the main reason they choose this way of working is that they like being their own boss. A quarter choose to contract because they get better take home pay and almost one in four (23%) are drawn to the more varied work on offer. The remainder contract due to a lack of full-time roles.


Futcher added, “These figures show that making money is not the be all and end all for contractors; there is a lot more at play than cash. Contracting roles can be challenging and stimulating; being able to choose where and when they work is very appealing for many flexible workers.”


When it comes to June’s referendum on whether to stay or leave the European Union (EU), the research revealed that 44% of respondents think it would be better from the point of view of contracting opportunities for the UK to remain in the EU and 20% think it would be better to leave the EU. Almost a quarter (23%) don’t think it would make any difference to them, with the remainder saying they don’t know which would be better.


The research also found that almost two in five (39%) IT and PM contractors are concerned that companies will introduce blanket pay cuts or ‘take it or leave it’ changes to contracting terms in the future. Despite this, the majority are feeling positive about demand for their skills over the next 12 months, with 58% of respondents feeling very confident or confident. This confidence is reflected in the fact that 33% of respondents would not consider going permanent in the next 12 months, even for the right role.


Futcher commented, “Despite contractors having to put up with what seems like HMRC constantly changing the rules of the game, they continue to soldier on bringing huge value to the UK economy. It’s time to recognise that many of the UK’s important infrastructure and technical projects would not be possible without contractors and that this sector of the workforce should be encouraged, not attacked.”


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