A question we are often asked is “Is now the right time to look at the contract market?”
It’s not a straightforward answer and depends on your circumstances: here are some of the considerations:

How buoyant is the Market?
In short, very! Commercial Contract Management and Complex Procurement professionals have never been in more demand, both interim and perm. More companies are recruiting than there are candidates and contractors; this is a sellers’ market. Given the candidate shortage, many companies are relying heavily on interim contractors.

What about IR35?
Since April 2021 roughly 90% of our roles are inside IR35 because, generally speaking, businesses with Commercial departments are large entities and have taken a risk-averse approach to IR35 – either banning the use of Personal Service Companies or making blanket inside assessments. Any ‘outside’ roles we have assessed are insured via our IR35 assessment tool.

Rates have climbed a little since the change, and inside IR35 contract roles still pay significantly more than most equivalent permanent roles.

What about my notice period?
Many contracts are an immediate start, however, sometimes the client will be prepared to wait a few weeks for the right person. Some of our defence clients will be prepared to wait a little longer while security clearances are transferred. If you are on a one month notice, then we may be able to find a role for you, but you will need to be ready to interview at the drop of a hat. And we suggest you save as much holiday as possible to be sure of an early finish. If you are on three-month notice, then you’ll need to take the plunge and hand in your notice.

Where are the rates?
We have contractors on anything from £200 a day to £1000 a day but most roles fall between £500 and £600 a day.

If you are switching from a permanent career, you will expect your pay to be linked to your seniority and capability. But the relationship between pay and experience isn’t so linear in the interim market. The end client is paying to solve a short-term problem, they may only be paying for a slice of your experience. Contractor budgets vary tremendously from business to business.

What will I earn after tax?
Inside IR35 – Before we put you forward to any role we will provide you with a key information document (KID), which will detail future earnings exactly. We are happy to provide you with an illustrative calculation on request. As an example:
Assignment rate of £550 a day
After intermediary fees and umbrella fees, gross income would be c. £9229.97 a month.
Net monthly pay would be £6771.46 a month (Inc. holiday pay).

If the assignment is outside IR35 you would typically set up a limited company and we would pay the full assignment rate directly to your limited company; you would be responsible for all your taxes.

What about sectors?
Interim is a great way of quickly building experience in a variety of sectors, and typically it’s easy to move from sector to sector. The one sector which is challenging to enter without experience is defence, as most roles in defence require current SC clearance.

Where will I work?
Before the pandemic, most contractors were expected to spend most of their time on-site. However, most contract opportunities now are flexible and, for the most part, we expect this to continue. You will still need to be flexible and ready and able to travel when required.

Can I go back into the permanent market?
Yes, but the longer you spend in the contract market the less attractive you become to permanent hirers. The biggest objection we have is a worry that a former contractor will leave if they are presented with an exciting contract role. If you are concerned about getting back into the perm market it might be worth holding on for now. We advise people to look at interim as a career in its own right and something to commit to for the long term. There are abundant opportunities and as long you are flexible you will always be able to pick up an interesting contract.

What makes a good interim?
You are there to solve a problem and make the manager’s life simpler. The best contractors are easy to work with, require no management time and are not overly concerned with status. The more diverse your experience the more potential opportunities you will be suitable for. Contractors with SC and DV clearance are always in particular demand.

What type of jobs are out there?
An interim requirement is largely driven by some sort of unexpected business challenge. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but typical roles are.

Business as usual roles
Covering a permanent member of staff – maternity cover, covering a gap while a perm new joiner works out their notice period, covering a sick employee, covering a role in a challenging location to recruit. These roles will often be contract management with one customer or a portfolio of customers.

Negotiation roles

  • Bid negotiation
  • Novating contracts
  • Contract exit
  • Dispute resolution
  • Running RFP’s/Vendor selection

Contract review on existing contracts to find scope creep and unrealised margin.
Redrafting existing terms to reflect new legislation.

I’m in – what do I need to do now?
Get in touch with our interim team who can help get your CV right for interim roles; be ready to interview and ready to work. All the set-up can be done once you have an offer in your hand.

Contact us: info@arguilesearch.com