One of the best perks of being a contractor is that you have the potential to take your profession anywhere. However, the UK remains one of the best contracting locations for those who wish to remain close to home; it has climbed from tenth place in 2013-14 to eighth place in the most recent Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Global Competitiveness Report
The Global Competitiveness Report measures the competitiveness of countries based on policies, institutions and other factors that drive its productivity. Productivity determines a country’s long-term economic growth. Higher levels of productivity are indications of long-term improvements in working and living standards, as well as the country’s ability to provide high levels of prosperity to its citizens.
Productivity is the main factor driving growth and income levels and as a contractor who may be considering working abroad, you will want to consider countries whose economies are performing well. You can view the full report here.
The top 5 most attractive contracting destinations based on the 2018 WEF report
The United States ranks the highest in the Global Competitiveness Report and is leading the way in how to drive and engage the gig economy – which will impact the work available to contractors and freelancers. The United States gig economy has thrived due to the country’s progressive employment laws which allow the workforce to be more fluid.
Another key driver for the gig economy is America’s global technology hub Silicon Valley. The fast movement of the tech industry means companies need to bring in top-level professional contractors who can offer guidance without the commitment of full-time employment.
The coal and steel industries are large employers of contract workers and combined employ around 230,000 people yearly. The US has acknowledged that the gig economy and flexible workforce is crucial to accessing talent. It has embraced this new business model which brings in highly-skilled professionals and allows workers more freedom as to where and when they work.
Historically, contracting in Singapore was non-existent, however the landscape is changing and the number of clients wanting to hire contractors is rapidly rising. Singaporean clients have recognised the need to attract talented contractors and some clients are offering additional benefits such as completion bonuses at the end of a contract.
The Singaporean government has also updated its manpower guidelines and as long as the contractor has been working for the same client for three months they are entitled to annual leave. The majority of contract roles are within the technology industry and contractors are being hired in large volumes from junior roles to senior roles. There has also been an increase in contracts in finance and corporate governance roles.
Germany is the third most attractive destination for contractors and it has the largest economy in Europe, as well as a massive manufacturing presence. There are many opportunities for contractors to work for one of the numerous large organisations that can be found there.
Germany is a popular destination for contractors of all disciplines but there is a particular need for engineers (automotive, mechanical, electrical and building), IT specialists, health and social workers and certain manufacturing positions.
Contracting in Germany is highly regulated and it is recommended that contractors working there operate through specialist umbrellas which have the right permits to legally work with a German client. Working through an umbrella company will also keep contractors compliant with the country’s social security and wage tax legislation.
Switzerland ranks fourth on the global competitiveness report. It has a stable, strong and flexible economy and the country is consistently in need of skilled professionals across a range of sectors. Its labour market ranks as one of the best-functioning globally and it offers contractors opportunities in many growing sectors such as biopharma, technology, engineering, pharmaceutical and biotech.
Switzerland is also known for being a global financial service and banking hub with Fintech and Insurtech amongst the fastest growing industries in the country. These industries require professionals with exceptional skills in cybersecurity, financial services and digital currency. With recent regulation changes reducing barriers to entry for Fintech firms, it is an industry which is set to grow as more foreign Fintech businesses enter the country.
Contracts in Japan are drawn up according to the Japanese Labour Standards Law. Contractors will receive details specific to their employment regarding overtime, salary, holidays and notice requirements.
Contracts may also include an allowance for public transport because workers in the big cities are often heavily reliant on it. The rise of the gig economy represents a shift from Japan’s traditional lifetime employment system; Japan’s IT sector is in the global spotlight due to its innovations and developments in this field. Many international and Japanese companies are developing their presence here and are looking to fill contract roles right across the IT sector, with English proficiency being particularly sought after.
Why the UK remains a good country for contractors to work in
The UK’s flexible labour market offers a lot of opportunities for contractors despite the imminent Brexit. Good working conditions and numerous employment opportunities mean it’s unsurprising that the UK is a popular destination for both British and international contractors.
The UK has climbed to the eighth position in the 2018 Global Competitive Report. There are approximately 2 million self-employed professionals in the country, 1.7 million of which are working as full-time contractors.
Due to recent legislation announcements, agency and gig economy workers will soon be entitled to sick leave and pay, paid annual leave and the same rate of pay as full-time employees. For more information on the new legislation please visit Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd’s blog about the government’s response to the Taylor Review.
There are many industries where contractors are in high demand in the UK and these include IT, engineering, teaching, healthcare and construction.
Is contracting abroad for you? Find out how Churchill Knight could help you on your journey
If you think contracting abroad or in the UK could be for you and want to find out more about how Churchill Knight can support you on your journey please call 01707 871622. Or request a call back to speak to one of our friendly experts at a later time.