What Does the Brexit Delay Mean for UK Contractors?

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With 29th March and 12th April — both earmarked as ‘Brexit Day’ — having been and gone without the slightest hint of an exit, it has been announced that Britain’s planned withdrawal from the European Union will now be delayed until 31st October. So what exactly does this delay mean for UK contractors?

Quite simply, the possibilities are endless. On the one hand, UK businesses could choose to move their headquarters out of the country to ensure continued relationships with European partners. On the other hand, a loss of access to EU-based talent could create urgent vacancies across practically all sectors.

But Still… It’s Uncertain

We can approach the potential impact of Brexit on the contracting community from every possible angle, but the only thing that is 100% certain right now is that there is absolutely no certainty. What the recent news of the Brexit delay tells us is that we’re seemingly no closer to reaching an agreeable deal for withdrawal from the EU than we were before. The future is still uncertain, and with this period of uncertainty comes a natural hesitance from businesses to invest in long term development and planning.

At this time, when businesses have no guarantee that they will be in a position to utilise valuable EU resources, it is unsurprising to learn that hiring intentions across the UK have slowed significantly. Business Advisory firm BDO has recently published its latest Employment Index, which shows hiring optimism to be at its lowest rate since December 2016. While this is worrisome for the economy, it can also be viewed as a unique opportunity for skilled contractors to take on new, exciting challenges.

With UK businesses less willing to recruit permanent employees, many may be seeking alternative options that enable them to ensure they have the right skills on board to continue on the path to success while simultaneously minising spends. As contractors are not subject to the same benefits regulations as employees — there is no legal requirement for paid holidays, for example — contractors often pose a more financially attractive way for businesses to benefit from fixed term talent for ongoing development.

The New Challenge

While the Brexit delay could signal positive news on the contractor opportunity front, it also poses a new challenge that hasn’t yet been explored fully. Currently, employment is considered to be the ‘standard’ method of working, with contracting still somewhat of a niche sector. However, should there be greater demand in the near future for fixed term contractors, it is essential that measures are in place to meet this demand. Contract Recruit aims to find a solution to this potential supply/demand concern.

Offering a way for businesses to advertise new contract roles, and for both contractors and potential contractors to explore these opportunities, Contract Recruit plans to facilitate communications between businesses and highly skilled individuals, making it easier for UK organisations to continue to grow and develop along the right pathway even during the uncertainties posed by the announced Brexit delay.

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