PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently published its ‘Good Growth Index 2016’, in association with Demos, the UK cross-party think tank. One of the most interesting statistics for limited company contractors was that Reading and Oxford have seen the most noticeable increase in work opportunities during the last 12 months, compared to other areas of the UK.
These two locations were more widely noted in the report as cities with the greatest improvement in pay rates, skill levels and work opportunities during the last year. And it’s clear that this is part of more widespread growth in the area, as both cities also experienced a significant increase in the number of limited company formations and the creation of other small businesses over the same timeframe.
The 2016 Good Growth Index also cited a number of other locations where the greatest improvements are being seen in relation to skills growth and jobs over the past few years – and these included Swindon, Castleford, Doncaster, Coventry and Wakefield.
Even more growth in job opportunities is still a desire for many – evidenced by the fact that 16% of those who took part in the survey said they were hoping for more expansion in this area. At the same time, 12% stated that they would like to see an increase in pay rates, and an increase in the implementation of skills improvement initiatives.
While the PwC report was optimistic in many ways, there was still an element of caution – given the uncertainly around Brexit – and so, at this stage, it is hard to know how the 2017 index might be affected. Commenting on this aspect of the report, Chief Economist at PwC John Hawksworth said:
“All of the elements of our Good Growth Index could be impacted by Brexit to some degree. It is important that businesses are agile and have contingency plans in place for both mitigating the risks and seizing the opportunities that Brexit may create.”
This seems like a clear opportunity for the contractor workforce – as businesses need to maintain a flexible approach to their operations, whilst still gaining access to the best possible talent. So, while no-one wants to see such uncertainly, the reality is that contractors could fine some positives in what the next 12 months brings, as Brexit negotiations continue.