As lockdown restrictions in the UK continue to ease, businesses have been more willing to bring in new people in line with the economic recovery. This has led to a steady increase in job vacancies being advertised over the last few months. In the public sector, this increase in demand comes at a time when the government continues its focus on building regional hubs. The demand for digital skills across the country means it is more challenging than ever to attract the best talent in a candidate-led market.
The recent IR35 reform in the private sector has also increased the number of roles being deemed “inside IR35”. At Jumar, like many businesses of our type, we have experienced an increase in contract vacancies being deemed inside IR35 since April of this year. For those roles deemed inside, HMRC sees the contractor treated like an employee for tax purposes, so is it time for clients to view them in this way too?
We have been advising our clients on making changes for the better to ensure that candidates are treated more like employees, in order to attract and retain the best talent.
- Access to support that would normally be available to employees – the importance of supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing has never been greater. Allowing contractors the same access to, for example, wellbeing support and social activities would help foster a greater sense of belonging.
- Continued flexibility on the location where they provide services – a recent report from Microsoft found that more than 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue. Continuing to offer flexibility over where and when services are provided, allows contractors to reduce travel time and costs.
- Commitment to review IR35 status on a regular basis – reviewing a contractors IR35 status on a monthly basis will determine whether or not it is still applicable.
- Increasing pay rates or offering longer contracts – if your budget and project timeline allows, offering a higher pay rate or a longer contract would help attract scarce or niche talent.
Making contractors feel more valued and a greater part of the organisation will likely decrease the chance of them leaving to explore opportunities outside IR35.
If you are expanding your team and are looking to recruit the best talent, get in touch with our Public Sector team. We have an extensive network of associates who have previous public sector experience and various levels of HMG security clearance, including BPSS, CTC, SC and Developed Vetting (DV).