Just when we thought the dust had settled following the triggering of Article 50 the Prime Minister announces there will be a general election this spring. The election will no doubt dominate the press for the next few months but for contractors the big question is what impact might the Brexit negotiations have on them.
Since the referendum vote there has been some consequences which will have had some impact, albeit indirectly, such as higher inflation and a weaker pound. However, since Article 50 was triggered not much has really changed. This probably shouldn’t be particularly surprising, invoking Article 50 was simply the beginning of what will be a two year long period of negotiations.
In the short term, nothing will change with regard to EU regulations and for most people it continues to be business as normal. However, it is the uncertainty that will create changes. This isn’t necessarily a negative for contractors. The contracting community has grown significantly because of the flexibility and adaptability of contractors.
Whatever your views on a hard or soft Brexit, contractors are currently in a strong position to take advantage of the uncertainty that prevails.
Experienced contractors can expect to see strong demand for their skills. We predict that many employers will opt to fill skills gaps with freelancers and contractors rather than permanent employees giving them the flexibility to bring in workers with key skills as and when they need them but without making a long term commitment. For employers, managers and businesses faced with an uncertain political climate, contractors present a solution.
What about EU citizens?
While negotiations continue, EU citizens will find nothing has changed for them either. Those already working as contractors in the UK can continue to work as normal and should experience the same demand for their skills as contractors from within the UK.
UK contractors working in Europe
Again, there is no change as yet. UK nationals continue to benefit from freedom of movement within the EU during the negotiations, after that none of us know what restrictions may come into force. If you are considering working in Europe now might be the ideal time to make the move while there is flexibility. No one knows what the outcome will be in the longer term but gaining overseas experience now is something that can’t be taken away from you after Brexit.
A positive outlook
Whilst the triggering of Article 50 marks the next stage in a period of uncertainty for the economy and industry it will no doubt bring opportunities for those who are ready to make the most of them. At present in the UK there are key areas of skills shortages, significant investment in infrastructure with major projects such as HS2 and there is growth in new industries such as FinTech and virtual reality. All of these present opportunities for contractors who are adaptable and proactive in their approach to securing new contracts.