Which sectors are thriving? What is the impact of new legislation? Read on for vital insights into the latest issues, hot off the press.
report finds contractor market has returned to pre-recession levels - 18/08/14
Study by giant group
finds considerable upturn in optimism in the contracting market:
- professionals in every sector expect opportunities to stay the same or increase over the next 12 months
- contractors in IT, engineering and education now place less emphasis on longer contracts compared to pre-recession
- fewer IT contractors expect rates to fall over the next year.
Contractors across a range of sectors are feeling more confident about both pay and opportunities according to a study by giant group. The professional umbrella employment specialist’s latest analysis compared current contractor sentiment to its ‘temporary recruitment market report’ which analysed the healthcare, finance, IT, engineering and education sectors in 2013.
The study has found that the UK contracting arena has now returned to pre-recession levels with many professionals reporting more opportunities now than before the economic downturn. As a result, contractors now place less emphasis on longer assignments, indicating they’re optimistic about the state of the employment market.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented on the findings. “While we expected the results one year on from the 2013 report to be positive, we didn’t predict such wide spread improvements to have occurred so quickly. While some sectors are still bouncing back, most noticeably the healthcare arena, the upturn in optimism in the IT, engineering and education sectors has been remarkable and is indicative of wider growth in the economy. If this improvement continues at the same pace, the UK contracting arena should be in for an exciting few years with plenty of opportunities across a range of sectors.”
“Projects such as the development of the Crossrail and HS2 railway lines are behind some of the growth, however much of the optimism can be attributed to budget-holders feeling more confident that now is the time to invest and grow into the future. Many will have resisted taking on specialist contractors to support business expansion and instead focused on batting down the hatches during the economic downturn, however now organisations have improved finances, many are investing in niche expertise that can help them to grow.”
Two-thirds of the contracting base expect their earnings to climb with just 5% expecting rates to drop, a reduction of 3% from the 2013 report. The significance of job security fell to 2006-07 levels with just 17% highlighting this as the most important factor in their decision to move into contracting, down by 3% from last year’s report.
One year on from the 2013 report, fortunes have also improved in the engineering contractor market with 93% of contractors predicting their earnings will either increase or stay the same over the next 12 months. Increasing numbers of professionals also highlighted growing job security with 66% saying they felt more secure or around the same in their roles compared to one year ago.
98% of finance contractors are expecting job opportunities to grow over the next 12 months. Contractors are also predicting a rise in the number of opportunities in the private sector, which can be attributed to an increase in compliance legislation in the sector from 12 months ago as regulators look to curb reckless banker behaviour.
Opportunities for healthcare contractors have doubled since the 2013 report with 18% reporting work in this area to plug the well-reported gaps in the workforce.
Increasing optimism is also being shown in the education sector with 23% reporting that the most important element in their decision to become a contractor was higher income. Just 14% of contractors cited this as the reason in the 2013 report with the majority focusing on job security. In other findings, 86% of contractors are expecting their earnings to increase or stay the same, indicating further optimism could be on the way.
curriculum changes prompts rise in optimism for contractors - 14/08/14
Contractors within the education sector are feeling optimistic about their earnings over the next 12 months, according to new analysis by professional umbrella employment specialists, giant group
The organisation’s latest survey found that 79% of contractors within the education sector expect their earnings to increase or stay the same over the next year, a growth of 5% on figures from last year. This can be partially attributed to the addition of new subjects to the curriculum, such as programming and coding, which could potentially lead to a shortfall of skills required in the classroom.
Other findings from the study suggest an ongoing shortage of teaching staff as the majority of respondents to the survey (70%) have only undertaken one contract role over the last year. Additionally, there has been a 3% rise in contractors within education reporting an average gap of 0-31 days between assignments, indicating that teachers are in demand.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown, commented, “Much of the increased optimism contractors in the education sector has been caused by changes to the curriculum that are set to come into play later this year. The addition of subjects such as programming and coding to the UK syllabus has boosted demand for skill sets in these niche areas and therefore contractors with these attributes are now expecting a rise in earnings over the next year. Specialists are particularly sought after to plug gaps left by an expansion of the curriculum and to generally smoothen processes for education providers. We’re all aware that adding new subjects is likely to bring staffing issues and many schools are looking to employ contractors to ease the transition come September.”
“However, while the heightened expectations are a positive sign, many education providers may have to be wary of a potential skills shortage looming around the corner. The majority of contractors have only undertaken one role in the past year and the gap between assignments is decreasing, suggesting that there’s increased demand for education specialists. If this trend continues, we could be seeing an education contractor market that’s pushed to capacity.”
pharmaceutical M&A activity creates greater demand for healthcare contractors - 21/07/14
Increased levels of M&A activity in the pharmaceutical sector has led to greater demand for healthcare contractors, according to the latest research from giant group
The umbrella employment specialist’s analysis of the healthcare market found that the percentage of contractors working at pharmaceutical companies grew by 10% year on year.
Further opportunities are predicted in the sector as 12% of respondents expect there to be more demand over the next 12 months, representing an increase of 7% from figures recorded in 2013.
Much of this activity can be attributed to the heightened levels of M&A activity in the sector over recent months. There have been 14 reported mergers and acquisitions worth more than a billion dollars in healthcare so far this year and this is driving the creation of roles for the contractor base. This is further exacerbated by reports that have suggested the permanent headcount at pharmaceutical companies involved in mergers and acquisitions will continue to drop.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown, commented on the findings.
“The M&A activity is certainly behind much of the increase in roles. Any time such massive strategic partnerships are undertaken there will always be opportunities for contractors and this is obviously no different. Expertise will be required to deal with swathes of added regulation and financial work that these types of mergers create and that can only come from the contracting market.”
“We predict that this influx of new roles will continue as the healthcare M&A arena shows no sign of slowing down. The sector has had some well-publicised difficulties with developing new products and this activity can be seen as an attempt to drive innovation, as well as secure tax breaks for the organisations involved. Contractors will continue to benefit from these deals and will be highly sought after as the mergers intensify.”
government employee benefits and expenses consultations welcomed by giant group - 11/07/14
The professional employment provider, giant group
, has welcomed the government’s employee benefits and expenses consultations.
The four on-going consultations
outline proposed changes designed to simplify the administration of employee benefits and expenditures. In particular, giant
has welcomed the planned amendments to the exemption for paid or reimbursed expenses. This could see dispensations abolished in favour of the HMRC
scale rates which benchmark global payments.
According to Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, this move would ensure fairer processing of employee benefits and expenses:
“The potential move away from dispensations will ensure that the HMRC published scale applies across the board, further ensuring a fair and simple assessment of benefits and expenses payments. The suggestions outlined in the consultation will also remove some of the more complex reporting that exists, streamlining the process and reducing the potential for any errors. This move to the HMRC scale is certainly something we feel is necessary. Indeed giant was the first professional umbrella employer to introduce these scale rates and has been using them since June 2012.”
more recruiters facing financial penalties due to failure to carry out employability checks - 06/14
A growing number of employers and recruiters are still failing to adequately assess an individual’s right to work in the UK, according to professional employment provider, giant group
Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed a total of 2148 Notification of Liability (NOL) notices for a Civil Penalty were issued to employers of illegal workers in the UK in the last year. The value of these penalties equates to £16.6 million. This is a significant increase on figures between 2012 and 2013 in which 1270 NOLs were issued at a cost of £10.8 million.
This rise in the number of NOLs is perhaps indicative of amendments to two existing Orders and Codes of Practice set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 early this year. These changes include the increase of the maximum civil penalty from £10,000 to £20,000, which is perhaps a significant driver of the rise in the value of penalties. The amendments also simplified the civil penalty process, making it easier for any incorrect checks to be identified.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on these latest statistics, “It’s concerning that the number of NOL’s issued has risen so much in the last year, particularly given the on-going crackdown on illegal working. Compliance and efficient checking of an individual’s employability rights have been hot topics over recent months, with more being done to raise awareness of the legal requirements for employers and recruiters.”
“On top of this, carrying out such assessments has been made easier through the portable checks introduced by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), for example. Now that the penalty fee has been doubled, recruiters and employers face a significant financial impact should they fail to ensure an individual’s right to work in the UK.”
ongoing investment drives demand for IT contractors - 17/06/14
IT contractors are expecting a large number of roles to be
created in financial services in the next 12 months as investment in the sector
continues to produce more opportunities, according to leading umbrella
employment provider, giant group.
Results from the organisation’s latest survey of IT
contractors found that 22% are predicting that more job opportunities will be
created in the financial services sector over the next year.
Many banks are currently heavily investing in technology
that can aid them in streamlining capital and liquidity reporting through
either in-house developments or off the shelf packages and this is what’s
partly behind the demand for IT contractors. Organisations are having to draft
in experts with niche skill sets to focus on the extensive regulatory and
Managing Director of giant
group, Matthew Brown commented on the results. “It’s exciting, if
unsurprising, to see IT professionals in financial services being so sought
after, given the ongoing investment in the sector. The majority of the demand we’re
seeing is for contractors with specialist technical skills as many businesses
are investing in their reporting systems.”
“Part of the demand could also be driven by the number of
mergers in the financial services sector in recent times. We’ve seen Bank of
America and Merrill Lynch join forces as well as the RBS/ABN-Amro merger and
these large-scale unions create sustained, long-term assignments in a number of
areas. Not least the huge systems
migration projects and change management programmes needed to ensure a seamless
changeover. We predict this demand will continue to intensify as there simply
aren’t enough permanent specialists on the ground at the moment. This is in
line with other results from our survey which found that the percentage of
contractors expecting a pay increase grew by 6%, reflecting the demand that
many professionals feel will be shown."
contractors want a holistic employment package, survey reveals - 12/06/14
Contractors want access to greater professional HR support and a more holistic offering from umbrella companies, according to research from professional employment provider, giant group
In its survey of over 160 contractors, giant found that access to an employee portal was ranked highest by these professionals when choosing an umbrella company, with 87% of respondents stating this as an important factor. A good on-boarding or welcome process came second (82%), with access to HR support third (79%).
A further 64% of those surveyed listed access to an employee benefits programme as a key consideration when choosing a professional employment provider. Expanding on this, the top benefits respondents want in the near future are: medical insurance, a discounted gym membership and critical illness cover.
These findings are indicative of the growing demand from contractors for greater HR support. As contracting continues to become the ‘new norm’, professionals choosing this career route are now expecting more of the support that is traditionally associated with permanent roles.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented:
“It’s clear from the results of this survey that contractors are no longer just after the admin support and salary security that has previously been associated with professional employment providers. The changing world of the contractor is leading to individuals actively seeking greater holistic support in order to be more effective in managing their own careers. These professionals have the technical expertise to deliver against the key objectives of clients and understandably want to focus their time on delivering the specialist services they are known for. In order to do this, contractors are clearly seeking the HR and benefits support that has long been available to permanent employees.”
security more attractive than higher pay for finance contractors - 13/05/14
Finance contractors are now looking for longer term assignments over higher rates, according to research by leading umbrella employment provider, giant group
Results from the organisation’s latest survey of finance contractors working in the UK found that 68% of respondents would favour longer projects over increased pay, representing a substantial increase year-on-year. The percentage of contractors who prefer improved rates fell by 7%.
Managing director of giant group, Matthew Brown, commented on the findings, “It’s somewhat surprising to see contractors preferring long term assignments over increased financial gain, however it is understandable. During the global recession many professionals will have been uncertain about their job security. We predict as we move further into recovery, contractors will once again begin to favour financial gain over longer assignments.”
The survey also found that a high percentage of finance contractors (43%) are currently working in the public sector. This could be attributed to year end projects such as statutory accounts and financial returns. The public sector is also increasingly looking to access specialist skills on a short-term or project basis.
Brown continued; “It’s certainly encouraging to see so many organisations utilise contractors in order to access the additional specialist expertise they need. With public sector spending under increasing government scrutiny the need for robust accounting procedures and good financial reporting practices has never been more important.”
‘glue’ between temp assignments necessary for contractors to claim legitimate business expenses
The outcome of the recent case between Reed and HMRC has highlighted the importance of ensuring an overarching employment contract is in place with temporary workers, according to professional employment provider giant group
The recent High Court decision in HMRC versus Reed 2014, one of the principal issues from this case found that for a temporary worker’s sequential assignments to meet the requirements for continuous employment – allowing them to claim for work related expenses such as travel and subsistence – there needs to be sufficient mutuality of obligations (MOO).
In a contract between an umbrella employer and the employee, the mutuality of obligations between projects is the ‘glue’ that holds the assignments together to create the overarching employment and is therefore the key to allowing tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses.
Without this in place, there is a risk that the individual assignments can be treated as separate employments and, as such, there is no qualification for the employee to receive expenses such as travel and subsistence free of tax and NIC.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, comments: “At giant, we have worked hard to constantly strengthen our employment offering by including wide-ranging mutual obligations between ourselves and our employees, in particularly between assignments. In addition to statutory payments, guaranteed hours, completion of timesheets and employee assignment hunting obligations, we were the first to offer Gap Pay; a retainer payment between assignments (on AWR Regulation 5 match permanent pay employment, not to be confused with AWR Regulation 10 pay between assignment).”
huge jump in demand for engineering contractors as result of government investment - 23/04/14
The number of engineering contractors working on railway services has shot up as a result of government investment in projects such as Crossrail, according to new research by umbrella employment provider, giant group
Results from the organisation’s latest survey of contractors working across the UK show that 16% of engineering professionals have reported working on rail service projects in the past year. This is up significantly from just 1% in 2013, and 2% in 2012, indicating the impact that government investment in infrastructure has had on the contracting market.
This is further supported by the latest trends report
from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) which found that engineering contracting opportunities have risen by 22% year-on-year and 5.2% in the last month alone. The ongoing construction of Crossrail has led to an enormous increase in opportunities available for contractors and this is set to continue with other projects such as HS2 and the expansion of Heathrow Airport being lined up.
Other results from giant group highlight the optimism currently being shown in the market. Currently 57% of contractors are expecting a rate increase in the next year, up 2% on statistics from 2013. Only 8% of contractors are expecting their pay to decrease over the next 12 months.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented on the findings, “The results from our latest survey highlight the impact infrastructure investment has had on the contracting market. And the good news is this should be sustainable in the longer term. At the moment the main demand is coming from the Crossrail project, however there’s also the planned development of HS2 and the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport in the pipeline. This means opportunities should be abundant for engineering contractors for the foreseeable future.”
recruitment directors to be penalised for unpaid taxes - 03/04/14
Amendments to the Finance Bill announced recently identified recruitment agencies as liable for any underpaid tax and national insurance contributions for self-employed temporary workers in their supply chain, according to professional employment provider, giant group
Agencies will also have to prove self-employment, in particular that the worker is not subject to control. From April 2015, agencies will be required to report quarterly to HMRC on all gross payments made to workers and/or intermediaries. There will be no legal defense other than where fraud is involved, and anti-avoidance provisions (TAAR) will target those agencies who try to circumvent the legislation.
However, giant advises, that within the finer details of the the Finance Bill, recruitment agency directors will be held personally liable for unpaid tax and and potentially National Insurance as a result of false self-employment claims.
Changes to Clause 16 of the Bill have confirmed that directors would receive personal liability notices should the agency involved fail to pay. The legislation goes on to state that, if there is more than one director involved in the company, all directors will receive the notice and will be jointly liable to pay HMRC.
The notice would detail the amount payable, including interest (which runs from the date the notice is served), and the director(s) have 30 days to pay HMRC. Director(s) may appeal against this within 30 days of the notice being served and detailing the grounds on which they appeal.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant commented:
“While we welcome the expected crackdown on tax avoidance in the Finance Bill, the personal liability amendments are incredibly harsh on recruitment agency directors. For these individuals, the need to ensure all workers in their supply chain are not paid as self-employed workers, is now more important than ever.”
“Agencies and RPO’s that contract directly with the hirer need to undertake a detailed review of all their current workers and their intermediaries to determine how workers are paid, and to assess their risks; moving workers were necessary. However, by putting in place and enforcing a strict Preferred Supplier List, agencies can manage their financial risks.”
IT contractors predict rate rise for third year in a row - 18/03/14
For the third year in a row IT contractors are expecting a pay increase, according to research carried out by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group
Results from the organisation’s latest survey indicate that 71% of respondents believe rates will increase over the next 12 months, up 6% on last year’s predictions. A further 52% expect contracting opportunities to increase over the next year.
This rise in work expectations is in line with wider reports across the industry, including the latest IT Director’s survey from recruitment consultancy, ReThink Recruitment. According to this research, 77% of respondents are expecting an increase in workload for IT teams in the coming months, but 52% do not believe they currently have the capacity to increase output. These figures suggest a rising demand for contractors to fill expected gaps in the next year.
When analysing its own statistics further, giant group found that Financial Services and Public Sector remain two of the biggest industries using IT contractors. This is perhaps unsurprising given the on-going systems migration in the finance arena and the Government’s shake up of the welfare system, both of which will continue to drive demand for niche experts to oversee projects.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented on the findings. “It’s extremely encouraging to note so many contractors feeling optimistic about their pay prospects and future work opportunities. With the ever-present gap between demand and talent supply, such niche experts will understandably be highly sought-after. And with on-going investment in areas such as big data and mobile, the need for professional contractors will only continue to intensify.”
construction recruitment agencies to be hard-hit by false self-employment legislation - 12/3/14
new ‘false’ self-employment legislation will severely impact construction,
driver and hospitality recruitment agencies, according to professional
employment provider, giant group.
the three main sectors which use self-employed contractors, recruitment
agencies operating in these areas will be under increased pressure to ensure
they are fully compliant. Subject to the final legislation which comes
into force on 6th April 2014, the agency who directly contracts with the end
- will now be liable for any underpaid tax and national insurance of
its self-employed temporary workers - if they have paid a temporary worker on a
self-employed basis (even via one or more service providers/intermediaries),
the agency will need to prove self-employment and that the worker was not
subject to control. Failure to provide sufficient evidence will result in
the agency being liable for the correct amount of tax and national insurance as
if the worker had been employed by them under PAYE.
- will also be required to report quarterly on all
‘gross’ payments made anywhere within the supply chain to temporary
workers, contractors and freelancers.
Brown, Managing Director of giant group, commented:
new legislation will have by far the biggest impact on recruitment agencies in
years. There are huge unquantifiable financial risks for agencies and
very onerous quarterly reporting to HMRC. The temporary, contract and
self-employment sector will now have to adopt new administrative processes to
ensure they are compliant with the new legislation. This will
understandably impact a recruiter’s time as they work to ensure they remain
compliant and put in place robust preferred supplier lists and ensure they have
processes to enforce them. In industries that are heavily reliant on these
self-employed individuals, such as hospitality, construction and drivers, this
liability headache is likely to be worse. With the new legislation coming into
force soon, recruiters in these sectors in particular must ensure they are
majority of finance contractors expecting pay increase, survey reveals - 17/02/14
Finance contractors expect their pay to rise for the third year in a row according to a report by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group
In results from the organisation’s latest survey, 66% of respondents expect an increase in earnings over the next 12 months. This represents a growth of 6% from 2012 and 12% from 2011 when 54% predicted an increase in pay and reflects the increasingly optimistic outlook for contractors within the finance sector.
In other positive findings, the percentage of contractors reporting an average gap of 0-31 days between assignments has also risen for the third year in a row (80%) representing a 4% increase from both 2011 and 2012. In comparison, those noting an average gap of 90 days or above between assignments stands at 8%, the lowest figure for the past two years. This highlights the improving nature of the market and the growing number of opportunities available to contractors in the finance sector.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented on the findings. “The results paint a positive picture for finance contractors. We’re seeing growth in almost every area and particularly promising is the rise in expected earnings for the third year in a row. The drop in individuals experiencing a gap of 90 days or above between assignments is also very optimistic and indicates the ever-increasing number of opportunities available to these professionals. This is also highlighted by the fact the number of contractors experiencing an average gap of between 0-31 days has grown for the third year in a row.”
optimism grows as gap between assignments falls for education contractors - 10/02/14
Education contractors have noted a drop in the gap between assignments compared to 2011 figures indicating a rise in opportunities, according to research carried out by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group
Results from the organisation’s latest survey found that 84% of education contractors reported their average gap between assignments remained low (0-31 days), up 5% from figures from two years ago and reflective of the increasing opportunities within the sector. The percentage of workers who experienced a gap of 61-90 days fell by 2% in this timeframe, indicative of the increasing number of options available to contractors in the sector. Other results further highlight growing stability within the education contracting market, with 66% stating they feel the same or more secure in their role as a contractor than they did 12 months ago. The length of projects also appears to be growing with a further 63% reporting they have had only one role over the past year.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented on the results. “We’re very happy to see the gap between assignments fall over the past two years and believe this will continue to be the case in the future. The results aren’t entirely surprising; the opening of new schools and other institutions will always create opportunities for contractors and the proposed lengthening of school days will add to this should the idea be progressed. But it’s encouraging to note the growing steadiness and consistency in the education market which is leading to contractors feeling stable in their positions.”
new app for contractors unveiled by giant - 28/01/14
Professional umbrella employment provider giant group
has released a mobile app which allows temporary workers and contractors to
upload timesheets directly from their mobile device.
The new free app means all giant temporary workers
and contractors, who become their employees, are now able to access ‘giant
on the go – anytime, anywhere’. The download gives employees the opportunity to
input and view timesheets, send and receive feedback, and view payslips. There
are very few umbrella employment providers who offer apps, and this is the
first of its kind to offer so many features for employees.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown
commented, “The increased use of mobile devices has meant employees now want to
be able to access timesheets and payslips on the go. Having our new app
will hopefully make their working lives that bit easier. This is the first app
by an umbrella employer to offer these features and we believe it will go a
long way in simplifying the process for contractors.”
The giant app can be downloaded by employees of giant
from their employee portal here
IT and Finance contractors predict higher earnings for 2014 - 16/01/14
IT and Finance contractors are expecting a wage rise for the third year in a row according to research carried out by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
Results from the organisation’s latest survey indicate 64% of IT contractors are predicting an increase in wages in 2014, up from 63% last year and 62% in 2011, indicating growing confidence in the contracting market.
A further 81% have reported the average gap between their assignments stands at 0-31 days, again, representing an increase on the previous two years and reflecting the growing number of opportunities available in the IT industry as organisations look to build on their existing infrastructure. In 2012, 79% reported an average gap of 0-31 days between assignments while in 2011 this stood at 77%.
Growing optimism is also evident amongst contractors in the finance space as they too anticipate an increase in earnings in the next year. Currently 67% of contractors in this industry expect wages to rise, a growth of 7% on the previous two years. As with the IT sector, finance professionals are reporting a decrease in the average period of time between assignments. Figures from the research show 80% of contractors had an average gap of 0-31 days between placements, up from 77% in 2012 and 75% in 2011.
Commenting on the findings, Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group said, “It’s very encouraging to see such strong results posted, particularly when compared to the previous two years. What can be seen here is continued growth, representative of increasing confidence in the contractor market. Across the board we’re seeing anticipation of increased earnings and opportunities which hopefully will continue to be a reality in 2014 and onwards. The results aren’t entirely surprising; as many organisations increasingly look to update their IT systems, experienced contractors will be needed to handle system migration projects. The on-going regulation developments in the finance sector could also, partially, explain the increasing confidence shown in that industry.”
Best Umbrella Company awarded to giant group - 15/01/14
Contractors award giant group Best Umbrella Company for the fifth time
IT Contractors have voted giant group as the ‘Best Umbrella Company’* for 2013 in the latest ContractorUK Readers’ awards. The only award of its kind in which winners are decided by contractors themselves was voted for by a record number of readers in December 2013.
Managing Director of giant group, Matthew Brown commented on this success:
“We’re very proud to win this award, particularly as it’s voted for by contractors, reflecting the credibility our team holds with this audience. We’re happy to have gained the recognition from the contracting community and to reclaim the award we previously won in 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2006. The win represents our dedication to being the umbrella employer of choice for contractors and our commitment to continue to be the most compliant provider of professional umbrella employment.”
self-employment model inclusion in updated FCSA Code welcomed by giant group - 08/01/14
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has welcomed the amendments made to the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) Code of Conduct*, announced yesterday.
Under the new regulations, professional providers in the self-employed and CIS arena will be included in the Code of Conduct. Previously this had only covered those delivering accountancy and employment services to the freelance and contractor community. The Code also includes the requirement for professional providers to transparently share the results of any onsite review with HMRC.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group, believes the change will have a positive effect, “It’s encouraging to see the Code of Conduct updated. At giant we are committed to delivering the high levels of standards expected by the association. We believe recruitment agencies and contractors alike will benefit from these amendments. With the Government’s ongoing commitment to tackling ‘employment’ disguised as self-employment, the FCSA’s timely announcement will reassure agencies and contractors that their providers are fully compliant. We expect the Code will be further updated following the conclusion of the onshore employment consultation in February 2014.
crackdown on intermediaries offering false self-employment welcomed by giant group - 12/12/13
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has welcomed confirmation of the changes to the Finance Bill 2014 that aim to prevent ‘bogus’ self-employment through intermediaries by removing the obligation of personal service.
The measure, confirmed by HMRC, plans to tackle mass-marketed schemes where workers can be moved into self-employment en-masse, even though they should be employed. This confirmation comes after the initial announcement in last week’s Autumn Statement* where Chancellor George Osborne revealed the government plans to tackle “the growth of intermediaries disguising employment as false self-employment.”
Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group, believes this is a positive step: “The proposed legislation should, if drawn up carefully, stop the mass marketing of false self-employment. Intermediaries will now be liable for any unpaid employment taxes and will have a quarterly reporting requirement to HMRC where they’ll have to justify self-employment for any workers described as such. There’s also the possibility that the government might introduce TAAR (Tax anti-avoidance rules) legislation on top of all this.”
“It will remain to be seen whether these intermediaries who are affected by the introduction of the legislation, will instead mass market the use of PSCs to these workers and run the risk (for the worker not them) of an IR35 investigation.”
increased positivity amongst IT contractors - 10/12/13
IT contractors are expecting to earn higher wages for the second year in a row, according to research carried out by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
Results from its latest survey indicate 67% of IT contractors are expecting an increase in earnings over the next 12 months, highlighting growing confidence within the market. This is up 6% on figures recorded last year. A further 53% of respondents reported they were expecting more job opportunities in the next year, compared to only 5% who felt openings would decrease.
Sector breakdowns highlighted a number of areas in which IT contract work is buoyant. Opportunities in retail are particularly rife with 11% expecting new positions in their field, a 5% rise on last year’s figures. Other sectors that have proved popular for respondents include manufacturing (up 3% on last year) and support services (up 2%).
Commenting on these findings, Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant said “These results represent an overall improvement on last year and it’s encouraging to see so many IT contractors feeling optimistic about the market. The positivity shown by IT contractors in retail doesn’t come as a complete surprise as they will be needed to manage the increased prevalence of technology in the sector. It’s obvious to us that organisations recognise the value that contractors can bring and we will hopefully see increased reliance on these professionals as we move into the New Year.”
Autumn statement crackdown on tax evasion welcomed by giant group - 05/12/13
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has welcomed the commitment to tackling national insurance and tax evasion referenced in the Autumn Statement.
In today’s announcement, Chancellor George Osborne declared the government would ‘strengthen efforts’ to tackle intermediaries disguising employment statuses and avoiding national insurance and employment tax payments. As outlined in the full Autumn Statement document*, “The government will legislate to prevent employment intermediaries from being able to use contrived contracts to disguise the employment of workers.”
Addressing this issue is a step towards better employment practices, as Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group explained: “We have long supported initiatives which help to eradicate any potential loopholes – legal or otherwise – and encourage fairer working opportunities. We look forward to hearing more on the government’s crackdown on offshore employment and tax evasion.”
finance contractors optimistic despite on-going uncertainty surrounding assignments
Finance contractors are optimistic about 2014 career prospects despite the long-standing trend for lengthy gaps between assignments, according to professional employment provider, giant group.
In its latest survey giant found that the majority of respondents (41%) were expecting an increase in finance contract opportunities over the next 12 months. As demand for these expert skills intensifies, contractor payment is set to change with 74% expecting to see their earnings grow. Growth predictions across contracting in general appear to be on the horizon as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has recently reported. In its latest Jobs Outlook the REC revealed 30% of employers plan to increase contractor use over the next 4 – 12 months.
Despite this predicted growth some respondents noted an air of caution given the length between assignments, with the number of respondents recording gaps of over 61 days remaining on a par with figures from the same period in 2012 (11%).
A breakdown of the contracting opportunities revealed that the public sector is currently recording the highest levels of work with 54% of respondents currently working in this area. Although this is a 5% increase on 2012 figures, those surveyed suggested this is likely to drop back to last years’ levels over the coming 12 months. This recent spike in project activity can be attributed to the new developments within the sector such as the launch of the Payment by Results (PbR) system within the NHS sector.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented, “It’s encouraging to note that contractors in the finance sector remain optimistic despite the on-going trend of lengthy gaps between assignments. As we continue to see more positivity in the UK business arena this sentiment will only grow. It would appear, then, that 2014 is set to be a good year for contractors.”
report demonstrates rise in public sector opportunities for engineering contractors
Engineering contractors are recording an increase in public sector opportunities despite the uncertain economic climate, a survey by professional employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
According to the survey, Temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? engineering contract opportunities in the public sector have more than doubled. 36% of those surveyed are currently working in this arena compared to 14% between 2006 and 2007. This rise can be explained by the various infrastructure projects currently in the pipeline, including the HS2 rail link, which is due for completion in 2018, and the 'Crossrail 2' rail link from the north to south of London.
The report also highlighted a change in preference of pay over contract length due to the recession. While these figures were fairly evenly split between 2006 and 2007, with 44% preferring higher per hour payment, these numbers have since dropped to 32% in 2012 and 2013. These figures are reflective of the on-going shift of mindset which is leading to more contractors looking for quality over quantity of projects.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “Unlike many other sectors, engineering has actually seen more contracting opportunities due to a rise in – rather than a loss of - budgets in the public sector. With the government committing to bringing the UK infrastructure up to speed, the use of contractors has clearly been the preferred choice for delivering these projects. However, despite this difference with other contracting areas, the preference for job security remains, suggesting the general negative business environment is responsible for a lack of confidence, rather than the tightening of budgets.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
healthcare contractors remain confident throughout crisis, report reveals
Contractors in the healthcare sector remained confident throughout the economic turmoil, a survey by professional employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
According to the survey Temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? contracting in healthcare has remained fairly consistent through the financial crisis. Periods between assignments have changed little, with 88% reporting this figure as between 0 – 31 days, down only 2% on data from 2008.
Unlike other sectors, long term contract preferences are low, with the majority preferring a higher per hour payment (60%). These numbers remained stable throughout most of the financial crisis; however, between 2011 and 2012 figures were reversed temporarily with 54% preferring longer contracts. This reversal coincides with the announced transition from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) within the NHS.
There has also been an increase in probationary periods at the beginning of contracts as more healthcare decision makers became wary of any investments. While only 10% reported this between 2008 and 2009, 13% did so in the following year and 18% between 2010 and 2011.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “Despite the turmoil in the healthcare sector over recent years, it’s encouraging to note that the level of contracting opportunities has remained buoyant. The balance in preference of long term projects over higher pay suggests individuals are confident in the market, despite the increase in probationary periods.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
IT contractors facing new environment, report reveals
The IT contracting space has recorded a significant shift in opportunities, a survey by professional employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
According to the survey, Temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? pre-recession contractors reported a high level of public sector work (26%). This figure has since dropped, with support service opportunities in the private sector now leading demand (25%). Contracting in financial services saw a peak between 2009 and 2011 as the sector was forced to install new systems in line with the Financial Services Act 2010 and bank ring-fencing.
Income has also been affected by budget cuts. Pre- recession the majority of IT contractors surveyed were predicting an increase in earnings (74%), with only 4% expecting a decrease. This latter figure has doubled between 2012 and 2013, however, with 8% now expecting a drop.
The importance of job security is up on pre-recession figures. Where only 16% of those surveyed ranked job security high as an element which attracts them to a contract between 2006 and 2007, this figure is now up to 20%, the second most important element recorded in 2012-2013. This is indicative of the general shift in priorities noted across contractors as the economic crisis created a need for security.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “Overall the picture has remained fairly positive for the contracting community. In an online business environment, there will always be a need for specialist IT contractors in the support services sector, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that this area has remained fairly stable. What is interesting, though, is the effect the economic crisis had on IT opportunities in financial services and the public sector. As two of the biggest hit areas during the recession, this peak in opportunities reflects the increase in contractor demand these difficult times have caused.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
finance contractors seek more security post-recession, report reveals
The economic crisis has led to an increase in finance contractors seeking job security, a survey by professional employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
According to the survey, Temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? finance contractors are noting an increase in preference for lengthy contracts over a higher per hour payment. Numbers of those preferring long term assignments have grown by 13% since 2006.
The results also indicated membership to financial professional bodies has dropped as the contracting market becomes more crowded. While 80% of those surveyed pre-recession were part of the leading trade bodies (ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA), this number has dropped significantly to just 14% during 2012 and 2013.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “The finance sector is one of the greatest examples of an industry that recognises the value of contractors during difficult times. However, while professionals in this area are in demand, the desire for more job security is still prevalent. The significant drop in membership to trade bodies also presents a slight concern. While it’s understandable that individuals are cutting back expenditure themselves, the competitive advantage such a membership has for a contractor shouldn’t be underestimated.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
education contracting pay up despite recession, report reveals
Contractors in the education arena have noted an increase in hourly rate despite a drop in pay preference, a survey by professional employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
According to the survey Temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? the financial crisis had an unexpected impact on education contractors.
During 2008 and 2009, 22% of those surveyed reported higher income was the most important factor influencing their move to contracting. As individuals recognised the sectors need for budget cuts, figures for the last financial year indicate a significant drop in this stat, with only 14% citing money as a reason. Lifestyle and freedom remained the biggest influencer throughout the recession, though, as more individuals recognised the personal value of this flexible opportunity.
Despite cutbacks to statutory pensions and pay within permanent education employment, hourly rates for contractors have actually increased. As more permanent staff leave the sector, experienced individuals able to fill job gaps are in demand. Those receiving between £25 and £50 per hour have risen by 7% since the beginning of the recession.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “The shift in mindset the recession has created in education contractors is interesting. At a time when money and security increased in priority elsewhere, professionals in this arena have moved more towards a preference of lifestyle. Whether this shift will remain in the longer term, though, is debatable.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
contracting environment more competitive, report reveals
The economic downturn has led to a more crowded contracting space, according to professional employment provider, giant group.
In its report temporary recruitment market report: what was the impact of the financial crisis? giant group found that the economic crisis has led to an increase in demand for skilled temporary workers to fill gaps created by headcount reductions.
In line with this demand, the survey of contractors between 2006 and 2013 also highlighted an increasingly crowded market. As unemployment rose, this temporary route to employment became a key option for many candidates. This is evident in the rise in gaps between assignments despite increasing opportunities.
The results also indicate a growing trend post-recession in contractors seeking more job security and longer term assignments. Levels of those looking for security, work life balance and the chance to develop skills are increasing across the board.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on the report, “Overall the picture has remained fairly positive for the contracting community. For individuals, the results of our survey suggest that now is the time to make sure your personal brand is competitive to ensure you stand out in a crowded marketplace. For businesses, if having top contractors working on specialist assignments helped weather the storm of the recession, it’s time to look at how they can now help your business grow and thrive.”
Brown continued, “For recruitment agencies, this new business environment has led to an increased demand from clients for skilled interim specialists, resulting in an ever-growing contractor database. In turn, this has caused a rise in competition to get the best talent on the books, not to mention the subsequent administration time associated with this workforce.”
To view the full report or for more information click here.
offshore umbrella crackdown welcomed by giant group
The conclusion of the HMRC Consultation this week is a welcome step towards fairer employment opportunities, according to professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
In its revised proposals HMRC suggests that responsibility for correct PAYE National Insurance and tax payments of workers employed offshore will fall to the recruiter, employment agency or vendor, rather than the end user.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented on the latest announcement: “We welcome the outcome as it will help to eradicate any offshore loopholes (legal or otherwise). It will also ensure that thousands of workers will receive a number of benefits including statutory payments due to the correct amounts of tax and national insurance being paid.”
Brown continued, “However, given that the obligations to ensure the correct amount of income tax and national insurance is now paid falls immediately and wholly on the recruitment agency, we accept that this will unfortunately be an increased burden for agencies. They will need to ensure they use UK based professional umbrella employers. The FCSA code of conduct that all FCSA members adhere to, ensures all members have no offshore element to their employment services.”
For more information about FCSA, visit www.fcsa.org.uk
engineering contractor confidence climbs as demand rises
Confidence within the engineering contractor community is on the rise, according to professional employment provider, giant group.
In its latest survey giant found that 26% of respondents felt more secure in their role as a contractor compared to this time last year, with only a minority feeling less confident. The professional employment provider also noted a decrease in the number of days between assignments. Overall, the majority of respondents recorded a gap of 31 days or less, while those reporting over 91 days has halved compared to the 2011 statistics.
This is in line with the latest report from the REC which clearly highlights a rise in the need for contractors. Not only did the REC note a near-record high of contractor demand in September, but it also found that engineering professionals in particular were highly sought after.
However, while confidence and job opportunities are on the rise, monetary rewards are yet to catch up. Only 8% of respondents had received a completion bonus and, of those who had, more than half noted a decrease of value compared to the previous year.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented, “We’ve noted a real trend of positivity in our latest surveys that is highly encouraging for both contractors and recruitment agencies. As demand for experts continues to grow we expect to see more organisations making the most of the specialist contractor skills to fill the engineering job gaps.”
contractors pivotal in addressing skills gap, according to giant group
Contractors will play a crucial role in filling the skills gap in Manchester, according to professional employment provider, giant group.
As the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) join forces to address pressing labour market challenges in the Greater Manchester region, giant argues more contractors will be needed in the interim.
With GMCC and the REC agreeing to collaborate on business, the professional employment provider advises that businesses in the area should not forget the value of this temporary resource in the development of the workforce.
Matthew Brown, CEO of giant commented, “As more businesses look to the emerging opportunities in and around Manchester, there will be a level of pressure on the talent pool in the area. The efforts by the REC and GMCC will go a long way in addressing the long term skills gaps, but the short term needs must also be fulfilled. The contracting community is a valuable tool that can not only fill immediate needs, but also build the teams required for future developments.”
top five ranking for giant group at Benefits Excellence Awards 2013
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has become the first company of its kind to secure a place in the top five at the prestigious Benefits Excellence Awards 2013.
Announced at the awards ceremony in London last night, giant group were one of the five finalist for the Benefits Pioneer (Corporate) category, which recognises an individual or team involved in launching or managing a voluntary benefits programme within their organisation. Other finalists included: Allied Milling and Baking, Hastings Insurance Services, IBM, and Warburtons.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director at giant group, commented on this success: “This recognition is a fantastic achievement for us. To have been in the top five for an award that no professional umbrella employer has previously been nominated for is a real honour. We are dedicated to providing excellent voluntary benefits to our temporary and contract workers who become our employees, through our benefits programme, giant advantage. It’s fantastic that this reward package has been recognised by such a prestigious award.”
IT contracting confidence up, giant survey suggests
Confidence within the IT contracting community is up year on year, that’s according to recent research by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
Results of its latest contractor survey of IT specialists point to increased confidence in the temporary market. Compared to figures over the last two years, the length between assignments is reducing, with the majority (82%) citing less than 31 days. In comparison, those recording 90 days and above has halved since 2011.
Added to this, over half of respondents are expecting job opportunities in IT to grow over the coming year and a further 64% predicting their earnings will increase. The survey also suggests that the top sectors for IT contracting opportunities over the next 12 months will be Support Services (26%), Financial Services (19%), Public Sector (14%) and Engineering & Construction (12%).
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on these results: “During times of budget and staff cuts, the demand for contractors has a tendency to spike. However, as positivity returns to the economy it is encouraging to note that the IT contracting community is reporting an increase in opportunities. It’s clear that organisations are continuing to recognise the value these experts can bring to businesses and are expecting to not only utilise this resource over the next year, but also potentially allocate more budget to these specialists.”
skills gap leads to increase in education contractor demand, according to giant group
Contractors in the education sector are in increasing demand, leading to competitive rates of pay. That’s according to the latest survey by professional employment provider giant group.
Respondents indicated they are currently experiencing higher hourly rates, with confidence expected to continue over the coming months with the majority predicting a continued rise in earnings.
Over 65% recorded they expect an increase in rates over the coming year, with 21% expecting no change and only 14% predicting a decrease. The length of time between contracts is also improving, with 86% noting between 0 and 31 days. This positivity is perhaps a result of the growing skills gap in the sector which has led to a 10% increase in the use of supply teachers.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director at giant group, commented on the latest results: “With the start of the new term approaching, now is a good time of year to gauge how the sector is faring and what to expect over the coming months. As economic confidence in the UK becomes increasingly positive it’s encouraging that contractors are predicting a good twelve months ahead. As reports continue to show the increasing reliance on supply teachers, now is the time for experienced individuals to fill the widening skills gaps.”
63% of accounting and finance contractors choose long term security over pay
Finance and accounting professionals would rather work on long term assignments than receive a higher per hour payment. 63% of professionals surveyed between May – July responded that long term assignments were preferable, in line with figures seen in previous studies (65% in the same period in 2012 and 58% in 2011). Only 37% would opt for better hourly pay.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, said: “The results suggest that contractors working in accountancy and finance are recognising the importance of longer term security, which is a trend we expect to continue throughout this year. And while this discipline has been hit hard over the past few years, more than three-quarters of participants are now saying they only have to wait up to a month to get a new assignment, and we expect this level of optimism to continue in line with previous surveys.”
£10.8m in fines for failing to check candidates’ right to work in the UK
Large numbers of employers and recruiters are still failing to adequately assess an individual’s right to work in the UK. Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed a total of 1270 Notification of Liability (NOL) notices for a Civil Penalty were issued to employers of illegal workers in the UK in the last year. The value of these penalties equate to £10.8 million.
While these figures are down slightly on those reported last year, it is still a concern that so many employers and recruiters are failing to carry out sufficient checks on employees despite the on-going clampdown on illegal working. And with fines for those who fail to ensure eligibility to work set to double, employers and recruiters are at risk of severe financial implications.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant commented on these latest statistics. “Compliance and efficient checking of an individual’s employability rights have been hot topics over recent months, with more being done to raise awareness of the legal requirements for employers and recruiters. However, the number of NOL’s issued still remains high. As fines are set to rise it’s vital the correct processes are implemented to reduce the associated risk on businesses.”
All professional umbrella organisations that are members of FCSA carry out right to work checks on workers as part of adherence to a strict code of conduct.
shortlisted for The Benefits Excellence Awards 2013 – giant group
We have been shortlisted for the prestigious Benefits Excellence Awards 2013, with winners being announced in September.
Nominated in the Benefits Pioneer (Corporate) category, giant group is being recognised as an individual or team involved in launching or managing a voluntary benefits programme within their organisation.
In response to the success, Matthew Brown, Managing Director at giant group, said: “As the first professional umbrella employer to be nominated, this is a great achievement for us. We recognise that, for many temporary and contract workers, access to the same benefits as permanent staff is often limited, if available at all. As a professional umbrella employer, we take on the continuous employment of temporary and contract workers as they work on various assignments and we are dedicated to providing excellent voluntary benefits to our employees through our benefits programme, giant advantage. It’s fantastic that this benefits package has been recognised, and we’re looking forward to the awards evening in the Autumn.”
The ceremony, which will be held on 25th September 2013, will take place at One Mayfair in the heart of the West End.
Manchester – the future hub for IT and Financial Services?
Our team in Manchester has already seen a successful year with increasing contractor activity as more organisations relocate to the growing business hub. And as the appeal of the area continues to grow, giant has seen an increase in IT and financial services organisations bringing in niche contractors to set up projects in Manchester and its surrounding areas.
This is further supported by a recent announcement from Manchester’s inward investment agency, MIDAS, which has supported the creation of 3,038 jobs across 81 projects in Greater Manchester during the past year.
It is reported that, of these recent investments, the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and F&P (Financial and Professional services) sectors have supplied the highest number of new jobs with a 23% and 19% jobs share respectively.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on this regional growth; “As more organisations look to relocate to the growing business developments in the north it’s perhaps unsurprising that we’ve seen such a rise in demand for specialist contractors in the region. Our team in Manchester has been working closely with local recruitment consultancies to ensure contractors are reaping the benefits of this growing economy.”
job security more important than pay for IT contractors
IT contractors are increasingly opting for long term contracts rather than those with higher pay.
A huge 69% of respondents surveyed from March – May 2013 said that they would prefer a longer contract rather than higher per hour payment, up from 60% in the same period last year and 5% from the beginning of the year.
On top of this, when asked what would attract them most to a contract, only 37% of those surveyed ranked income as the most important factor, a decrease of 5% from the previous survey. Interestingly, only 13% of respondents felt that income was the least important consideration, whereas other indicators – such as security (19%) and work life balance (17%) – were deemed to be important.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, said: “The results suggest that IT contractors are recognising the benefits of greater job security and quality rather than simply more money in the short term. We’re actually seeing a slight drop in the length of time between contract assignments which is reflective of these changing priorities, and we expect the number of contractors opting for longer projects over higher per hour payment to further increase throughout 2013.”
portable DBS checks will boost temporary recruitment
The new portable DBS checks service introduced this month will help the temporary market grow.
Formed at the end of last year, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the combination of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. This merger simplifies the employee check process as, going forward, there will be only one organisation dealing with checks and barring decisions. Launching a new service called the Update Service, this will allow workers to pay an annual subscription of £13 to ensure their DBS certificate is kept up-to-date so they can take it from role to role within the same workforce.
According to Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, these changes will be of benefit to contractors and businesses alike. “This new development will be a welcome change for all involved in contract work. For professional contractors and interim workers, DBS’s new Update Service will be a valued initiative. Unlike before, checks will be transferable between jobs, removing some of the barriers often associated with interim working. Once a worker has subscribed to the Update Service their employer, agency or hirer will be able to go online, with the worker’s consent, and carry out a free, instant check to find out if the information released on the DBS certificate is current and up-to-date.” “For recruiters, this new initiative will speed up placement services.” Brown continued. “By allowing greater ease for contractors to move across projects, recruitment agencies will be in a better position to place some of their best candidates into new assignments.”
For more information on portable DBS checks and roles eligible for assessment, visit www.gov.uk
Faster Payments for all giant group contractor employees
As of 1 June 2013, we have moved from same day volume CHAPs payments to same day volume Faster Payments, to ensure our employees have a better, quicker payment process.
As one of the top 50 companies for volume payment processing in the UK, we are one of the first umbrella employers to offer this volume payments process. The move will ensure giant employees have access to their money within two hours. This is significantly quicker than the current CHAPs payment system where employee’s money arrived in their bank accounts later in the day. Adopting Faster Payments also allows us to offer an extended deadline for advance payment requests, allowing them to apply for advanced funds up until 5pm every day.
HMRC’s crackdown on offshore umbrellas welcomed by giant group
The latest consultation by HMRC announced last week is a step towards fairer employment opportunities.
HMRC announced that there are currently thousands of teachers, nurses and other workers employed via offshore arrangements which are not compliant with tax and national insurance legislation. The proposals outlined in the consultation document will require offshore intermediaries to correctly account for their income tax and national insurance payments. HMRC is also proposing greater monitoring by recruitment agencies and end hirers where the agency worker is employed via an offshore intermediary in order to track any inconsistencies. Any shortfall in tax and national insurance contributions by the offshore intermediary may become the responsibility of the recruitment agency and the end hirer if the offshore intermediary defaults.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented on this news: “As a founding member of the Freelance & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), giant welcomes any initiatives to make contract work and employment fairer in the UK. The proposed changes will ensure all workers who are eligible, will receive a number of benefits including statutory payments due to the correct amounts of tax and national insurance being paid.”
greater job security experienced by accountancy and finance contractors
20 May 2013
The average length of time between contracts has decreased for accountancy and finance contractors, according to recent research by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
A huge 81% of those surveyed said that the average length of the period between contracts was only 0-31 days. This figure has increased by 7% on last year’s study. On top of this, a mere 5% of professionals were seeing a gap of over 90 days before they started the next contract, a decrease of 3% on the previous survey.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, said: “The results suggest real positivity for contractors, despite a competitive market. A high proportion of respondents were seeing only a relatively short amount of time between contracts, suggesting that it’s becoming easier for contractors to find work. This greater job security is welcome news to accountancy and finance professionals, and the optimism is expected to continue throughout 2013.”
over half of all finance contractors move into the public sector
13 May 2013
The percentage of accountancy and finance contractors working in the public sector has increased to 51%, according to recent research by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
This figure is up by 12% from 2011, and by 5% from the latest survey which was carried out at the beginning of this year. Results coincide with the expected rise in this type of job opportunity; last year 35% predicted they would see an increase in job prospects in the public sector. And, according to 44% of finance professionals, this is expected to increase further over the next 12 months.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant said: "The findings of this survey are perhaps unsurprising given the expectations identified in our earlier report. However, it paints a positive image of a growing contractor opportunity, one which we expect to continue as new public sector developments bring about greater opportunities over the next few months."
Not all sectors have seen the same level of activity though, with percentages of finance contractors in investment banking and asset management decreasing by 11% since 2011 to only 5%.
"Investment banks are still being cautious over contract recruitment," said Brown, "We’re generally seeing a flattening of recruitment in the sector as the banks are forced to be much stricter when it comes to taking on new hires, and little change is predicted over the coming 12 months."
growth for engineering contractors in automotive sector
29 April 2013
Engineering contractors are particularly positive about job opportunities over the next year in the automotive sector, according to professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
A survey of engineering contractors across the UK by giant found that, from October 2012 to March 2013, 22% of respondents were working in the automotive industry, an increase of 9% on the previous year. In addition, a further 22% of respondents have predicted that the sector will continue to see more job prospects in the next 12 months, bringing welcome news to engineering contractors.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant commented, "These results are perhaps expected when you consider that BMW had a record year in 2012 and Jaguar Land Rover is creating 700 jobs in the West Midlands. An expansion of this kind requires the specific skills of top engineering contractors to manage new projects, so demand in expert skills will understandably increase."
giant becomes first professional umbrella to offer Gap Pay
22 April 2013
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has become the first organisation of its kind to offer Gap Pay to its contractor employees.
Once a candidate joins giant they become an employee of the company. As part of a package of employment rights and mutual obligations, they will receive Gap Pay. Providing Gap Pay when employees are eligible for work but have no work between assignments is a significant obligation from giant which is akin to providing employees a retainer payment between assignments. Each week will ensure employees receive seven hours Gap Pay at basic pay and holiday pay.
This is a payment under AWR (Agency Workers Regulations) regulation 5, not to be confused with pay between assignments under AWR regulation 10 (Swedish Derogation).
The introduction of Gap Pay follows on from giant’s decision in summer 2012 to be the first FCSA member to reduce subsistence claims to HMRC published rates. This move was in line with the FCSA code of conduct and best practice guidelines.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant explained the decision behind this additional employment benefit; "We are dedicated to giving our employees a more stable work environment and access to the key entitlements which are only available through permanent contracts. The mutual obligations in place between giant and our employees, such as Gap Pay, ensure continuous employment during and between assignments. Employees are therefore on permanent contracts and are eligible to receive all the rights and benefits of permanent employment including the right to be reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses when on assignment at a temporary workplace. We work very hard to ensure that we are always proactive in making changes which strengthen our employment offering for temporary workers and by doing this we lead the market."
As a further commitment, giant guarantees its employees will be offered at least 504 hours of work each year with, importantly, any shortfall being automatically paid by the company at basic rate. This is on top of the entitlements already available to the giant employees, including statutory payments both during and between assignments.
contracting in the public sector
18 April 2013
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of professional employment provider, giant group reviews the public sector.
increase in public sector opportunities for engineers
15 April 2013
The public sector has seen the number of its engineering contractors almost double since 2011, according to professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
A survey of engineering contractors across the UK by giant found that, in 2011, 21% of respondents were working in the public sector, with this figure increasing to 39% in the study from October 2012 to March 2013.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant commented, “As the public sector was forced to make cuts in difficult economic times, it often led to the freezing of permanent positions. As a result, contractors have been called in to plug the gap, leading to this increase in engineering contractors working in the public sector over the last couple of years.”
Interestingly, it was also found that engineering contractors are choosing job security over higher earnings. A huge 70% of respondents said they would prefer long term contracts rather than higher per hour payment – an increase of 14% from the survey in 2011.
Budget 2013 - good news for contractors
20 March 2013
In today’s Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that the government is definitely going to go ahead and crack down on National Insurance avoidance through offshoring.
This news will plug a gap previously brought to light in a speech to the Scottish Lib Dem conference by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. A tax loophole has allowed firms to avoid up to £100m a year in National Insurance by setting up offshore payroll services in tax havens such as Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. The result has been that many employees haven’t been eligible for statutory payments like sick pay and maternity pay, but were not made aware of this.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented on today’s Budget: "The commitment from George Osborne to take action on those who don’t pay tax is great news. At giant, we recognise that the majority of businesses pay all necessary National Insurance, but for those who don’t, it can have a severe affect on employees. With stricter rules, there will be a much wider access to benefits, such as sick pay or maternity pay, which can only be a positive outcome for contract workers."
clampdown on tax dodging
19 March 2013
Professional umbrella employment provider, giant group has welcomed the tightening of the tax loophole announced this week.
In a speech to the Scottish Lib Dem conference, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, announced that a tax loophole that allows firms to avoid £100m a year in National Insurance will be closed under a new scheme. Mr Alexander said around 100,000 employees - mostly teachers, nurses and oil and gas workers - were believed to be paid through offshore payroll services set up in tax havens such as Jersey and Guernsey and these employees could be ineligible for statutory sick pay, but completely unaware of that status.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group commented on this news: “It’s great to hear that this issue has been highlighted, and at giant we welcome the tightening of the rules. The loophole originally meant that some workers were at risk of missing out on statutory support as their employers were not paying National Insurance. But with this new scheme in place, everyone will have access to a number of benefits, including statutory maternity or sick pay – should they need it.”
IT contractors see dip in retail sector following Olympics
18 March 2013
Opportunities for IT contractors in the retail sector have dipped following the Olympics, professional umbrella employment provider, giant group, has revealed.
A survey by giant found that retail contracts had almost halved in comparison to the same period last year. In contrast, financial services and the public sector have seen an increase in opportunities, with nearly a quarter of respondents (41%) currently working in these sectors.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented on these results; “The Olympic and Paralympic games provided a fantastic opportunity for the UK economy in general, with retail being one of the biggest sectors to benefit. In order to support such an enormous project, we saw a huge demand for I.T contractors.”
“With these events out of the way, there has been an expected drop in retail opportunities, but as is usually the case, there are other sectors where contract workers are in demand to complete finite projects.” Brown continued. “For example, as budget constraints and regulatory issues impact financial services and the public sector, we’ve seen a rising need for I.T. contractors, something we expect will continue over the coming months.”
IT contractors seeking more job security
12 March 2013
IT contractors are increasingly looking for long term opportunities and the associated job security this provides, according to professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
A survey by giant
found that 64% of respondents would prefer a long term contract over a higher hourly rate – a 4% increase compared to two years ago. This is indicative of the preference for job security, which was ranked most important by 23% of respondents, an increase of 7% since 2011.
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant commented, “These results are perhaps unsurprising when you factor in the economic climate of the last few years. Many individuals are still anxious about job security and therefore there is a desire for more long term contract opportunities.”
more opportunities expected according to accountancy and finance contractors
11 February 2013
Accountancy and finance contractors in the Public Sector are expecting a positive 12 months, according to recent research by professional umbrella employment provider, giant group.
Nearly half (41%) of those surveyed were expecting an increase in job opportunities in the Public Sector arena, with Industry & Commerce coming in second (32%). Management Consultancies and Accountancy firms were third (7%) with Retail & Commercial Banking and Investment Banking & Asset Management joint fourth (6%).
Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant
said, “The contractor space in the Public Sector has seen a lot of activity over recent months and with a number of restructuring projects expected over the coming months, it is envisaged that this will continue. With new developments such as the Payment by Results (PbR) system within the NHS sector, for example, this is a busy period for accountants.”
Interestingly, of those surveyed only 19% were members of the leading accountancy professional bodies which, as Brown suggests, is indicative of a higher demand for junior to mid level accountancy and finance contractors. “It would appear from these lower numbers of qualified accountants that the need for senior level professionals is dropping slightly. This is further supported by the hourly rates recorded, with the vast majority of contractors appearing at the lower end of the pay spectrum.”
70% of supply teachers expect improved pay in 2013
6 February 2013
70% of supply teachers are expecting better pay over the next 12 months, up from 64% this time last year, according to giant group, the professional umbrella employment provider.
Concerns over the smaller number of new graduate teachers to fill some roles and the increasing numbers of teachers quitting the profession has increased demand for experienced supply teachers, says giant
. Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant
, says: “With a drop in the number of new graduates entering teaching profession as well as an increase in existing permanent staff leaving the profession, a teacher shortage is being created.”
“This shortage means plenty of opportunities have arisen for supply teachers over the last year, and these opportunities will continue in 2013. Schools are increasingly in need of experienced supply teachers to plug staffing gaps, which is pushing teachers’ daily pay rates up.”
Department of Education figures from December 2012 showed that 47,700 teachers left their jobs in 2010-2011, up 19% from the 40,070 that left their jobs the year before. Supply teachers are also reporting shorter gaps between assignments, according to giant, with 86% of supply teachers surveyed reporting waits of less than a month between roles, up from 79% in 2011.
Better pay is becoming an increasingly important factor in teachers’ decisions to move from permanent roles to temporary ones, adds giant. 14% of supply teachers said pay was the most attractive aspect of temporary work, up from 10% a year ago. The most popular reason for choosing to become a supply teacher – ‘lifestyle’ – slipped from being the top choice of 56% of supply teachers in 2011to 47% in 2012.
Matthew Brown explains: “Many teachers now see supply work as a great way to increase their income as well as improve their lifestyle, with over a quarter of supply teachers we questioned rating financial benefits as the biggest advantage when it comes to supply work.”
“The supply teacher lifestyle has mostly maintained its appeal, with a greater sense of freedom still the most important reason for teachers to turn to supply work. The recession has boosted financial concerns up teachers’ list of priorities at the expense of lifestyle attractions, but the appeal of an improved work-life balance is still strong.”
public sector IT boost for contractors with number of roles expected to increase
7 January 2013
IT contractors are increasingly confident about potential job opportunities in the public sector, according to giant group, the professional umbrella employment provider. 15% of IT contractors expect the public sector to be the source of the most new jobs over the next twelve months, up from 9% in 2011 and just 6% in 2010.
Public sector cuts have led to increased demand for IT contractors as managers seek external help to improve efficiency and make up for reductions in permanent headcounts, explains giant
. Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant
, comments: “The public sector cuts of the last two years have placed pressure on managers to increase efficiency and make savings as well as find ways to replace the skills and experience of departing staff.”
“This has created plenty of fresh opportunities for IT contractors. Demand for new IT investment has blossomed as managers hunt for efficiencies, while IT contractors are needed to plug holes in staffing capabilities and implement these new IT systems.” IT contractors surveyed by giant were most confident about opportunities in the support services sector, with 26% saying they expected this sector to produce the most new jobs over the next 12 months. This is up from 22% a year ago and 19% in 2010.
However, giant says that IT contractors are less optimistic about job opportunities in the financial services. 19% of contractors surveyed believe this sector will create the most new jobs over the next 12 months, down on the 23% who felt the same this time last year, and significantly down on the 35% who were most confident about the sector in 2010.
Matthew Brown says: “The financial services sector has continued to experience a tough time in 2012 as the UK entered a double-dip recession and financial services continue to suffer from the aftermath of the banking crisis. This has limited the demand for new IT contractor roles.”
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