Is talk of a vaccine paving the way for a major contractor bounce-back?

Experts are claiming that the UK Economy could bounce back in as little as six months, thanks to the news of a vaccine breakthrough.
Economists have raised hopes that the UK could return to pre-pandemic levels within six months after it was announced by Pfizer and Moderna that major breakthroughs in a COVID-19 vaccine have taken place. Surges in optimism have been sweeping through the scientific community after early trials found that the new treatments were found to be 90 and 94% (respectively) effective against the virus.
At the time of writing this article, it is known that the UK Government already has 40 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine on order, and rumors of introductory mass vaccination by Christmas are circulating. Leading experts suggest that a correctly rolled out program could see life returning to normal as early as Spring 2021. 

This is set to have a profound effect on the contracting world. March to April 2020 saw the biggest drop in contracts since the index tracking the stats began. Small monthly rises have been seen throughout the pandemic but a proven vaccine could result in a sharp increase of opportunities in the 4th quarter of 2020/21.

Business owners are under no illusion that there are individuals with serious talent stuck between contracts currently – the necessity to pick up work quickly means that it is, to an extent, an employer’s market. Will the proposed vaccine create a race to engage the very best talent available? Any pro-active employer with ambitious plans would certainly consider such a vantage point. Keep a close eye out for some attractive positions being created and advertised in the coming weeks.

In addition, any speculation of a further delay in IR35 legislation change has surely been quashed. We have spoken to many businesses who were simply “holding on for clarity” as the pandemic evolved – here’s hoping there is little regrettable hindsight on missed time that could have been used for planning. As a contractor, self-preservation is a must; as such, the credibility of your end-client and recruitment agency should be of paramount importance. Ask questions to ensure they are using a reliable determination tool – after all, they are making conclusions that could impact your personal finances and tax position.
When assessing your supply chain, other considerations should include adaptation to changes in the law that may have passed unnoticed due to recent events. The Good Work Plan (GWP) came into force in April 2020 with little celebration or fanfare. The changes were implemented at the beginning of the initial national lockdown in response to the 2017 Taylor Review of employment practices. The purpose was to introduce reform and provide clarity to employers and workers in an attempt to ensure fair and decent working conditions for all. You should expect some distinct changes in how you are engaged and how your contract/assignment is presented to you due to the GWP.

Increased self-education of your rights during this bounce-back period will allow you to stand with integrity and confidence. Remember that as a contractor you have a say in how you operate. For example, your chosen provision warrants consideration (at the very least) by your recruitment agency/end-client. We talk to many contractors who have been forced down a very limited route for their personal payroll provision by their recruitment agency – the truth is, it’s your choice, you may simply have to stand your ground and justify your decision.

Personal preparation will also be key in this fast-paced recovery – ensure you have not only an updated written CV but a video cover message as an accompaniment. Be ready to take Zoom calls with a professional background. Do you need to consider further education to be eligible for the big up-and-coming markets: 5G, gas renewables, IT, Fintech, and nuclear? Identify gaps within the market and react appropriately.
Regardless of your route, we’d love to assist you with your contracting journey. We have lots of contractor benefits and perks and our employment standards are certified by the Employment Rights Assessment.
Bounce back better with Umbrella Contracts Limited.