Although the initial jump from permanent salaried employment to freelance contracting requires resolve and more than a little courage, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has told a cross-party parliamentary group that it brings many benefits to the individuals who make the transition.

PAYE umbrella contractors, as well as those freelancing through their own limited companies, consistently report greater job satisfaction than permanent employees, the REC informed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freelancing.  Contractors working for umbrella companies enjoy all the benefits of flexible working hours, and frequently draw higher rates of pay for their services, advantages that help them to achieve a much healthier work-life balance than many permanent employees.  However, the REC went on to note that companies and organisations using contractors like this are also likely to be beneficiaries.  Not only is a satisfied workforce likely to be a more reliable and productive workforce, but a strong contractor community can also deliver numerous economic benefits.

REC Chief Executive, Kevin Green, told MPs that a major strong point of the UK’s labour market was its flexibility; a characteristic that he believed “should be enhanced at every opportunity.”  One of the main reasons that employment in the UK held up comparatively well compared to other economies during the recession was the wider availability of flexible working practises here, he explained.  Moreover, he maintained that these practises “…can also bring benefits now that the economy is recovering.”

Mr Green also emphasised that the benefits of a strong contractor workforce were not simply confined to economic considerations.

“Evidence shows that people who have taken control of their careers through freelancing and other forms of self-employment have higher levels of job satisfaction, as well as general health and wellbeing.”

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