A new survey of more than 1,000 UK contractors by the online jobs board contractjobs.com reveals that a majority believe that contract opportunities will improve over the coming year.

Participants included contractors working through umbrella companies and limited companies, with specialists in IT contracting being especially well represented. While a majority said that they envied some of the employee benefits of their permie counterparts, more than 60% regarded the flexibility and freedom they gained through contracting as more important. Just 5% of respondents said they would be contracting on a short-term basis.

A measure of their commitment to flexibility is reflected in their willingness to travel lengthy distances to their place of work – over a third (35.2%) said that they would happily travel over 100 miles for a contract and 16.9% said they would travel between 50 and 100 miles. Rising rail fares appear to have dissuaded many from letting the train take the strain, with 58% saying their preferred mode of transport to and from work is driving.

When it came to finding jobs, newspapers, magazines and job centres were dwarfed in significance in comparison to jobs boards, with a massive 80.9% of contractors preferring this means.

A surprisingly high number (19.4%) believed that they could sustain their current lifestyle for over a year should they become unemployed, while 18.4% said that they could do so for 2-4 months – figures which suggest that contractors’ finances are probably in better shape than most permanent employees.

Finally, 60% of respondent stated that the AWR had had no discernible impact on their work.

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