Direct route more appealing

Many contractors may use recruitment agencies to find work, but most would prefer to be contracting directly with clients or...

Many contractors may use recruitment agencies to find work, but most would prefer to be contracting directly with clients or looking for assignments via an internet job site, according to a recent survey by Contractor UK.

The on-line study, carried out in association with contractor consultancy eVirtualCompany, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently polled 420 IT contractors on their attitudes towards finding work and selecting recruitment agencies.

The research found that while 64 per cent of respondents currently use agencies to source assignments, only 18 per cent want to continue doing so. Rather the survey claims that many respondents (67 per cent) would prefer to adopt a direct approach when looking for future work, followed by the use of internet job sites (52 per cent), and word-of-mouth from fellow contractors (44 per cent).

According to Robert Godlonton, managing director of eVirtualCompany, the findings confirm an "overriding trend" seen among IT contractors recently, of moving away from the agency way of working, for reasons such as the perceived impact of agency margins on /rates received.

Despite this however, agencies still hold an appeal. When asked what factors tie them to recruitment consultancies, respondents listed earning potential, availability of jobs and agency commission as the most important. Non-financial factors included timely and accurate administration, IR35 compliance and the agency's client base. However, financial planning, including tax and accountancy advice, was rated by just 9 per cent of those questioned. "With the end of the tax year looming, it is worrisome that so few contractors consider tax and accountancy advice to be of importance," comments Godlonton. "This confirms our view that the majority of contractors have not taken appropriate action regarding IR35, and could risk huge penalties in April."

This was last published in March 2001

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