From hours being reduced to projects being cancelled, contractors and freelancers across the board have suffered due to uncertainty in 2020. And, even as lockdown begins to ease, many self-employed individuals are still facing financial hardship.
We decided to take stock of the thoughts and feelings of contractors and freelancers in our community to better understand what they’re going through and provide agencies with some relevant insight. Surveying almost 400 individuals from our database, below represents their circumstances and the effect that COVID-19 has had.
The impact of lockdown on contractors and freelancers
Almost immediately, lockdown had an impact on the availability of work. Of those we surveyed, 77% saw their industry take a hit.
Not only are self-employed individuals harder to identify – it’s also harder to quantify their earnings.
Support came eventually in the form of a grant that would pay 80% of typical earnings up to a cap of £2,500 a month. However, 56% of survey respondents believe the government could have done more. A further 28% felt the government had offered them nothing whatsoever.
When asked about their finances, approximately 40% said that while they were managing, they had serious concerns for the future. Worse still, 24% said they were really struggling with the financial impact of the pandemic.
How the contractor workforce adapted
Of course, a large number of contractors weren’t immediately laid off. In fact, 45% of those we spoke to were working from home. However, for 40% some or all of their contracts had been cancelled.
As a result, it should come as no surprise that 60% of those surveyed have found it more difficult to adjust than they had initially expected.
With that being said though, a combined 39% found the situation either easier than expected – or the same. While many believe there has been a lack of support, our data indicates that clients and contractors have somewhat pulled through.
On top of this, when asked whether or not they think their clients will explore more flexible working arrangements once lockdown is over, 50% said yes – with an additional 33% thinking it was possible.
What the future holds
With a large number of contractors revealing that the current lockdown and economic pressures haven’t harmed them too severely, it’s our opinion that there is cause to be optimistic about the future of contracting.
Yes, 40% of those surveyed believe that they are less likely to find work after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a combined 57% believe that there will be the same opportunities – if not more.
In fact, of those who had a contract cancelled, over 83% are planning on getting straight back into contracting as soon as they are able to – still preferring it to regular employment.
The consensus of when that would be, or at least when lockdown would end, had the majority (37%) believing that it would be within 60 days. And with additional support being offered to the self-employed, we don’t think it will be long until business as usual.
How Workr can help
While we understand the pressure that contractors and self-employed people are currently facing, we believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. From the research we’ve undertaken, evidence suggests the drive for contract work will be even higher than before.
So, to help you seize the opportunities that drive will bring, Workr Group have a range of services to strengthen your agency. From award-winning umbrella solutions to IR35 support, we can help put your organisation back on the right path while making you the first choice for contractors and freelancers around the country.
Sound good? Get in touch on 0208 10 60 000 or email email@example.com.