Research from SJD Accountancy has found demand for contractors in financial services is strengthening following the Brexit decision. The poll of around 600 contractors in financial services found that 17.9 per cent received a daily rate increase in the last six months, up from 12.4 per cent in H2 2015. Furthermore, while 22.4 per cent of contractors have seen their rates fall in the last six months, this is an improvement on the same time in 2015, when 28.6 per cent of contractors reported rate cuts in the previous six months.
SJD Accountancy says that other metrics point to demand for contractors rebounding following the initial shock reaction to the Brexit vote. The percentage of contractors on a contract of at least one year or more has edged upwards over the past year, indicating that end users are no less committed to long-term projects than they were before the vote. 34.7 per cent of contractors are on contracts for one year or more, up slightly from 33 per cent in the last six months of 2015.
“Demand for contractors in financial services remains resilient despite the pain felt in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, when the number of contracts reduced, as well as the rates paid to some contractors,” says Derek Kelly, chief executive officer of SJD Accountancy. “Financial institutions have stepped up demand for change management professionals as they look to transform and respond to the challenges thrown up by Brexit. Contract business analysts, project managers and programme managers are highly sought after in the financial services sector at present.”
He adds: “Many financial services businesses slowed hiring prior to the referendum vote. While the form Brexit will take is still uncertain, contractors represent a lower risk option than full-time employees.”
The research also shows that the proportion of financial services contractors earning £500 per day or more has edged up slightly, from 60.7per cent to 61.6 per cent. According to SJD Accountancy, demand for contractors in the insurance sector has performed strongly over the past six months driven by market consolidation, which has increased demand for contractors to work on systems integration projects. Insurers are also investing in digital technologies and customer data analytics, which is creating opportunities for contractors.
Derek Kelly concludes: “Contractors are more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the market than permanent employees. With economic growth revised upwards and unemployment at the lowest level since 1975, we may see an increase in opportunities for contractors as employers struggle with short-term skills gaps.”