In IR35

A new study has found that a large majority (71 per cent) of freelancing and contracting professionals are either “optimistic” or “balanced” about their future prospects over the next 12 months.

The survey of over 700 UK freelancers and contractors was conducted by the specialist tax advisory consultancy for contracting professionals, Qdos Contractor, part of the Qdos Group. The 71 per cent figure breaks down into 34 per cent who are optimistic about their prospects over the next year and 37 per cent who are balanced.

Exploring the issues that contracting and freelancing professionals are “most confident” about, the survey found that:

  • 45 per cent cited achieving an improved work/life balance.
  • 35 per cent cited a rise in demand for their services.
  • 13 per cent cited raising their day rates.
  • six per cent cited “other areas,” including “greater variety of work” and “maturing my business.”

However, 29 per cent of respondents said that they are “concerned” about their prospects.

Commenting on the findings, Qdos Contractor CEO Seb Maley said: “The potential to strike a better work/life balance is one of the many reasons people choose to work independently. Working for yourself is not a decision based solely on financial gain, far from it, in fact. That freelancers and contractors are most confident about striking [a] better balance between work and play shows that in many respects, they have their priorities in order.”

Highlighting the fact that nearly three-quarters of freelancers and contractors are either confident or balanced regarding their prospects over the next 12 months despite recent tax changes and tough new public sector IR35 reforms, Mr Maley added: “Freelancing and contracting is alive, well and strong, regardless of recent and potentially incoming changes to the sector.”

These sentiments are similar to those voiced this week by an award-winning contractor accountancy company. Writing for ITProPortal, James Poyser, CEO of inniAccounts, pointed out that skilled contractors themselves place taxation far down on their list of priorities for choosing to work as independent professionals.

Noting that issues such as being at the school gate and the Christmas play, making time for an aging relative, marathon training or travelling the world and finding more challenging work that permanent employees don’t get offered rank above taxation for most contractors, he wrote, “It’s about lifestyle. It’s about working to live, not living to work.”

Returning to the Qdos survey, Mr Maley acknowledged that nearly one-third of the contracting professionals polled reported feeling concerned about their future prospects. He called on the Government to win back the support of the UK’s independent workforce with more conducive legislation and prove to these flexible workers that it is “on their side.”

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