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    Crystal News

    Regulatory change will not make the UK labour market perform better, CIPD warns electioneering politicians

    January 29th, 2015

    As the general election looms closer, the CIPD has warned that regulatory reform should not be the foundation stone of labour market election promises. The warning arises from a study ‒ Employment Regulation and the Labour Market ‒ commissioned by the CIPD. A core finding is that the UK’s relatively large army of independent professionals freelancing and contracting through Umbrella Companies means that the country’s flexible labour market is generally working well on a series of broad measures in comparison with international peers. At 65%, the UK has a higher proportion of good-quality jobs ‒ and a smaller percentage of low-quality jobs ‒ than the EU average. Italy has 54% […]

    Latest REC JobsOutlook survey shows demand for contractors holding steady

    January 28th, 2015

    The number of employers intending to appoint additional temporary/contracting staff has held up well in January, maintaining December’s sizeable proportion of 43% over the next three months, the latest REC JobsOutlook survey reveals. Whereas the majority of employers have previously cited gaining access to key skills as their primary reason for appointing Umbrella Company employees and other agency workers, their top reason in January (cited by 71%) was to respond to growth. Over the medium term (four months to one year), the number of employers intending to hire temporary/contracting staff rose to 46%. Prospects for permanent jobseekers also look promising, with 80% of employers planning to recruit permanent staff over […]

    Want to be happier, better off and more productive? Become an Umbrella Company employee

    January 27th, 2015

    Becoming a contracting Umbrella Company employee and freelancing for a living can make you one of the happiest and most productive workers in the UK. So says new research from Brighton University’s Business School, which found that the majority of freelancers work a 38-hour week and earn a median wage of £43,000 – substantially higher than the £25,000 national average. They are also happier than other workers, the study found. One of the study’s lead authors, Dr Jonathan Sapsed, said: “For many, freelancing is emerging as the ideal lifestyle, especially in creative and digital industries where people can work from any location, including home, and which demand high levels of […]

    Scrapping travel and subsistence tax relief will damage the UK’s flexible temporary workforce

    January 26th, 2015

    The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has warned that HMRC proposals to scrap travel and subsistence tax relief for all agency workers engaged by intermediaries on overarching contracts (OACs) could endanger the UK’s temporary/contracting workforce. The ARC acknowledged that unscrupulous operators had taken existing tax rules to the limit and beyond; however, fully-complaint Umbrella Companies could be adversely impacted by such a blanket approach. Scrapping home-to-work travel tax relief, the ARC believes, would be unfair to Umbrella Company employees prepared to make long journeys and forego the regularity of salaried income to be as flexible as possible for UK businesses. Traditional employees, the ARC argues, are in a far better […]

    Skills shortages are giving UK CEOs a major headache

    January 23rd, 2015

    There has been a major increase in the number of UK CEOs expressing concern over the availability of suitably skilled candidates in the workforce, a new survey reveals. The 2015 Global CEO Survey by PwC found that the number of UK CEOs citing skills shortages as a major concern has soared from last year’s 64% to a massive 84%. This is considerably higher than the number of non-UK CEOs who share the same concern, which globally totalled 73%. Over two-thirds (67%) of UK respondents believe that the government should urgently prioritise developing a skilled and adaptable workforce, but just 26% think that the government has achieved this goal. PwC senior […]

    HR directors plan increased professional hiring ‒ contractors to the rescue?

    January 22nd, 2015

    Independent professionals contracting as Umbrella Company employees look set to find demand for their talents surging in both the public and private sectors in the first half of 2015, with almost half (47%) of HR directors confirming that they plan to expand professional hiring this year, the latest Professional Hiring Index from recruitment firm Robert Half UK reveals. The proportion is four percentage points higher than that recorded in the Index six months ago; however, the likelihood that professional contractors will be amongst the beneficiaries of this hiring spree lies in the fact that HR directors acknowledge that they face an uphill recruitment struggle in the face of worsening skills […]

    New contracting legislation must support “vital contribution” made by UK’s temporary workforce

    January 21st, 2015

    A leading provider of contractor accounting and business administration services has reassured recruitment agencies and Umbrella Companies that there is plenty of time to offer compliant solutions to proposed legislation on overarching contracts and reimbursed expenses and leave the UK’s professional contracting sector undamaged. Although the proposed legislative changes could have significant implications for contractors and Umbrella Company employees, Nova Contracting director Marcus Green said these changes would not come into force until April next year, allowing time to plan for and manage any new statutory requirements. The deadline for feedback on the discussion document is 10th February, allowing industry representatives ample time to supply clear examples of the “unintended […]

    Recruiters warned that using social media to vet candidates could break the law

    January 20th, 2015

    With the burgeoning uptake of social media, it is unsurprising that many recruiters have used it to identify prime candidates and weed out the not-so-prime; however, an employment law specialist is warning that in doing so recruiters risk breaking the law. Law firm Moore Blatch has warned recruitment consultants, employers and their head-hunters that they are in danger of breaching privacy, data protection and anti-discrimination laws if they use social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to vet candidates. This practice is becoming increasingly common, but Moore Blatch cautions that any information collected about prospective candidates via social media could have legal repercussions. Contracting Umbrella Company employees and […]

    Employers still hiring contractors despite uncertainty about general election, says Venn Group

    January 19th, 2015

    Despite growing employer uncertainty about the outcome of the general election in May, the UK’s professional contracting community enjoyed “an incredibly positive year” in 2014, the associate director of contractor recruitment specialist Venn Group has claimed. Jodie Finn was commenting on the latest analysis from Venn Group, which reveals that despite these employer concerns the contract market only experienced a marginal 1% year-on-year drop in vacancy levels. Contractor recruitment activity eased slightly in the final months of 2014 as the election drew closer, with many employers worried about the possibility of a Conservative victory and an in-out referendum on the EU. Below the headline figure from Venn, however, some contractor […]

    BP to cut back on permanent and contractor roles in the North Sea

    January 16th, 2015

    Umbrella Company employees and other independent professionals contracting in the North Sea oil and gas industry face a bruising year in 2015 after BP undertook a major restructuring exercise during December in response to tumbling world oil prices. The upshot is the axing of 100 contractor roles and 200 jobs in a move that resembles decisions taken recently by other oil and gas companies including Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. BP has been downsizing since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. In an announcement the company said that it had to take account of “toughening market conditions” and that the recent fall in oil prices, […]