A number of workforce studies show that contracting has an increasingly fundamental role to play, both in facilitating economic growth and providing people with the opportunity to achieve a good work/life balance. In this article, our friends at Contracting Wise look at five hot trends that will shape the contracting world of tomorrow.
1. New technology: The impact of the 4th industrial revolution will see new technology creating disruptions across every industry. These changes will affect independent contractors according to their skill set. Some manual work could be overtaken by automation, such as various manual roles and those involving mid-level administration. However, as companies use this new technology to create new products and services, there will be increased competition to secure access to skilled and flexible workers.
2. Lifelong learning: Research indicates that by 2025, permanent employment will no longer be the norm, with over half the workforce engaged in temporary or contract work at some point in their career. This will see many people intermittently returning to long or short term educational programs to retrain or develop their skills. The increasing demand for contractors will also see contracting identified as a career choice within the education system.
3. Legislation: The current issues with the off-payroll rules and changes to IR35 have highlighted the inadequacy of current legislation surrounding contractors’ rights and their tax status. The heavy-handed treatment of contractors has impacted negatively on the sector, with many contractors choosing to leave rather than work under unfair conditions. The increased demand for contractors to facilitate economic growth will highlight the need for major legislative improvements.
4. Recruitment: The role of recruitment agencies in facilitating supply and demand within the contracting sector will remain crucial. Although hiring platforms will continue to grow in popularity, recruiters will provide personalised access to high-quality contractors and contracts. As AI technology allows recruiters to use increasingly specific search criteria to identify and verify suitable candidates, the hiring process will reduce its risks. Recruitment may also change to reflect the temporary collaboration of contractors as companies outsource whole teams for projects.
5. Lifestyle: As more people seek a better work/life balance and the ability to prioritise their individual needs, the contracting sector will continue to offer good earning potential and choice. The flexibility of contracting allows people to negotiate the amount they work and how they work, with technological changes increasingly facilitating remote working on a global scale. Subsequently, contracting is more likely to accommodate and reflect people’s core values and aspirations, leading them to experience greater career satisfaction. This could also mean that contractors are more likely to keep working beyond retirement age.