After a last-minute U-turn in 2020, the IR35 reforms are finally going ahead on 6 April. With these changes imminent, most organisations that have contractors in their workforce have now made their final IR35 status determinations, often locking in future determinations at a company policy level.
We’ve seen uncertainty from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic collide with IR35 to increase fixed term contract (FTC) offers in the marketplace. The salaried contracts are benefitting employers by giving them access to valuable professional resources for their projects and programmes at competitive costs.
This is because FTCs are being taken up by professionals who want an immediate start, potentially following periods of unemployment. They are also under consideration by contractors who would have previously turned them down, but who now want some stability while they see what 2021 has in store.
IR35 will bring significant changes to the way contractors in the private sector are taxed. Here’s everything you need to know about what is changing, how it might impact you and what to expect.
If you’ve been applying for jobs for a while, application fatigue may be setting in, but stay focussed, because people are starting to get hired for the jobs they want. Most clients spent 2020 adjusting to urgent priorities, while planning longer-term changes to ways of working. However, they are now looking to refresh and upgrade their connectivity and cloud-based solutions, with desktop / productivity apps, CRM and ERP platforms with O365, Dynamics365, Salesforce and ServiceNow being very much in vogue, alongside competitor technologies.
Furthermore, after a year of putting cybersecurity transformation projects on hold to enable BAU capabilities, they are coming back online. Data protection is a priority too – particularly since hackers took advantage of new opportunities while organisations truned attention was turned to adjusting to remote operations.
With change management roles increasing in popularity, project and delivery managers need really understand end-user requirements, as well as the potential business impact and benefits of transformation. There’s also growing demand for readiness activities to boost buy-in and change adoption through communication and training for businesses and their stakeholders.
And although we have been seeing more FTC roles in the market in Q1, as the economy starts to open up – particularly within the hard-hit leisure, retail, hospitality, aviation and tourism industries – we expect strong demand for these same professional resources in the second half of 2021. As a result, the balance between PSC contractors, PAYE contractors, FTC and permanent staff may well redistribute itself.
Tips to stand out from the crowd
With so many candidates in the market, clients are able to request very specific skills and experience for their vacancies – and this makes it less of a chore for them when it comes to interviewing candidates.
Now is not the time to be vague. To avoid getting lost among the other applicants, directly highlight how you meet the brief of the job description: don’t leave room for interpretation. It’s more important than ever to:
Tailor your CV and cover letter for each role. Your competitors are, so you have to do the same.
Align your LinkedIn profile as you adapt your skills and experience profile – and announce the changes to your network.
Let your recruiters know about these changes too.
Finally, if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to check in with recruiters to see whether you have all the skills that a role requires. They are the best source of insight, and they want to make sure you are set up for success.