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Things You Need To Know About Contracting

Career choices written on napkin

Whether you specialise in Credit Risk, Analytics, Data, Modelling, SAS, Insight, Data Management or Marketing Analytics, if you want to work on contract – this article will ensure you’re in the know.

The demand for contract workers continues to rise, especially within Data and Analytics, as flexible working becomes a way of life in many companies. Skills offered by professional contractors are highly valued by a wealth of organisations, many of whom see the procurement of short-term expertise as a key element in their recruitment strategy. Additionally, growing skills gaps in Data and Analytics have meant contract resource has become a necessity for many employers.

What is contract work?

What are the options?

Other considerations?

Build a network

What is contract work?

Contract work means that you are not employed on a permanent basis by anyone (Apart from your own Limited Company). You have the freedom and flexibility to decide when you want to work and for how long. Generally within our sectors and industries of focus contract roles range from 3 month assignments to 2 year contracts.

In today’s competitive business environment employers are turning increasingly to contract professionals to provide additional resources as and when they are needed as well as securing harder to find skill sets for specific projects. In fact, for some Data and Analytics skills such as SAS Analytics, Web Analytics, Marketing Analysis & Credit Risk, there is a real shortage of talent and that’s where you come in.

In addition, the flexibility, choice and variety of experience you can achieve by fulfilling contract or interim positions mean that this is an increasingly popular career choice for many professionals. As well as the career choice, contract work can also be an ideal solution for those between permanent jobs, travelling or looking to return to work after a career break.

What are the options?

There are two main options for contracting – you can either set up your own limited company or go through an umbrella company. Which one is for you? If contracting is a long term career choice then setting up your own Limited Company may be the best option as it is the most tax efficient way of managing your income. However, if you are only going to contract for maybe 3 – 6 month with the intention of then getting a permanent job, the utilising an umbrella company will potentially be your best choice.

If you choose to set up a Limited Company which is the most common route then you will need to:

  • Become familiar with the constraints of IR35 and what contractual agreements you should and shouldn’t enter in to. If you are paying taxes like a Limited Company, you will need to behave like one, for example restrictions potentially exist concerning how long you can provide services for one client. Also your Limited Company needs the right to substitute its employees with other consultants.
  • Get a good accountant. Don’t cut corners - you really should do everything thoroughly and by the book. This is a real hot topic for the Government at the moment and you need to be familiar with and comply with all the latest regulations.

Other considerations if your choose to contract

Think about the medium term when it comes to income, as a stable contract for 12 months at a market rate is far better than a very highly paid one for 3 months. It can take another 2 months to find that next contract and you could be unpaid for that length of time.

Be careful contracting through micro agencies (1 or 2 staff) if you can. If you do choose this route – you must credit check them. Some micro agencies can be financially risky - remember they are the ones paying you, not the client!

One of the big benefits of using agencies as well as an easy route to market for you is the fact they will normally pay you within 2 weeks of the end of the month you have just completed. Be aware contracting for companies directly can in many cases mean you are paid like a supplier and monthly invoices can take around 45 days to be paid in the UK.

Build your network

Lastly, build your network with all agencies, clients as well as other contractors.  However you choose to contract – you are now the sales function for you and your skills and your network will have the have the knowledge of where your next contract is.

<< By Simon Clarke>>

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