A First-Timers Guide to Contract Work

A First-Timers Guide to Contract Work

If you are reading this article, it’s likely that you’ve recently joined the growing number of Data and Analytics professionals in the freelance market. Or, perhaps you’re still debating whether to take the leap into contract work or not. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

As daunting as it may be for some, increasingly permanent staff are now exploring the prospect of contract work for their next career move. Whether it be for reasons of flexibility or a financial bottom line, contracting is now a credible career choice for many data analysts whose skill sets are in high demand across many sectors that need additional resources.

Many employees in the UK now work on a contract basis. According to data from Statista, there were an estimated 1.66 million temporary workers across the UK in January 2023, up from 1.45 million in January 2020.

What are the most important things to consider when transitioning into contract work?

Reaping the benefits of contracting

We’ve put together five of the most common tasks that our recruiters help job seekers with, in order for them to be fully prepared to start a new contract job. You should use this checklist when you’re weighing up if contracting is right for you.

1. Your CV: A targeted CV can make all the difference for you to stand out to both recruiters and hiring managers. Make sure, it’s high-impact and concise. With clear details of your previous technical experience.

2. Taxes: As you’re self-employed, the company you work for is now your client. They won’t pay your tax for you; this will be your responsibility at the end of every financial year. Therefore, it’s always prudent to save 20-30% of your monthly pay to go towards your taxes when April arrives to avoid any nasty surprises.

3. Find a good accountant: Speaking of taxes, a good accountant will be your best ally. They will make sure your taxes are paid, and deadlines are met. They will also advise you on allowable expenses for contractors.

4. Adaptability: As a contractor, you’ll typically join an established team in full flow, and be expected to land on your feet. You will need to reassure your client that this is something you’re highly experienced in. Whether this is due to jumping from project to project in a permanent role, or past contracts.

5. Networking: You are now the face and sales function of your own consultancy, and will need to make sure you have the knowledge of where your next contract is going to come from. Whether it’s through using your preferred agency such as Harnham, keeping in touch with previous managers, or networking with other contractors within the market; who you know will be a big influence in where you find your next contract. It is key that you are vigilant and consistent in your search.

Have you recently become a contractor? If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice, please get in touch with Dave Curtis, our Managing Director of European Contracts.

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