Around one in five of the 4.5 million people registered as self-employed in the UK fear the impact that a UK exit from the EU would have on their ability to secure work in the future
The possibility of a British exit from the European Union is causing widespread concern among the country’s contractor workforce, according to research findings from online accountancy firm Pulse Accounting.
The Contractor Confidence survey revealed that around one in five contractors (23 per cent) feel that a ‘Brexit’ would have a negative impact on their contracting opportunities in the future. The report also revealed that currently over half of the contractors surveyed would prefer to stay in the EU.
In the last year, the number of self-employed workers in the UK has been growing significantly. According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics, between July and September 2015, there were 4.5 million people registered as self-employed in the UK, a 7.3 per cent rise on the same period in 2013.
Chris Futcher, CEO of Pulse Accounting, said: “To date, the focus of concern surrounding an exit from the EU has been on what impact such a move would have on large corporations and SMEs. But we have to widen the debate and ask what effect such a decision will have on the army of skilled self-starters who pump billions of pounds into the UK economy each year and have been a significant driving force behind the country’s economic recovery.”
Despite concerns around Britain’s membership of the EU, the short-term outlook for contractors looks promising. The Contractor Confidence report also showed that contract rates have increased during 2015 and that the majority of self-employed contractors (78 per cent) are confident about demand for their skills in the immediate future. They’re also keen proponents of the contractor way of life, with 88 per cent saying they’d recommend becoming a contractor to others.
Futcher added: “Working as a contractor is not always an easy option, you need resilience, determination and drive if you want to succeed. However, there is high demand for people with the right skills. We need to make sure that contractors and those thinking of becoming contractors have the support they need to get the job done and are not tied up by red tape.”