The Keep Britain Working campaign has carried out a new survey which reveals the effect the recession has had on working in the business services sector. 28% have been affected by a reduction in salary while 25% have taken a reduction in working hours. Also 22% have lost their benefits package.

This level of flexibility is unparalleled for permanent employees and their employers but contractors and freelancers have long worked in this manner and it is certainly good news for contractors. UK organisations are realising the benefits of an adaptable freelance workforce that has no associated employment risk.

The 1.4 million strong workforce of contractors has been credited with making the UK a very appealing place to do business. It is satisfying to these workers that their flexibility and creativity has been proclaimed to be the saviour of the UK economy.

James Reed from Keep Britain Working commented, “The UK workforce has demonstrated unprecedented flexibility during this recession allowing organisations to explore a whole range of cost-cutting responses, other than relying solely on redundancies.”

Further research by Harvey Nash, a specialist IT recruitment firm, demonstrates that within the next 12 months there is likely to be a wealth of work opportunities for contractors throughout Europe as 76% of senior IT executives plan to outsource more opportunities in IT, project management and interim management.

Only time will tell if employers only enjoy a flexible workforce during the economic downturn and return to a more permanent employment structure once the economy has recovered. However, if employers do decide to stick with this model of flexible working, it could open up significant opportunities for contractors in the future.

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