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FCSA research shows umbrella employees enjoy better rates of pay and longer assignments

Research out today has revealed that umbrella working is being adopted by more and more high-end professionals in a diverse range of occupations.  The research conducted by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), the UK’s largest independent association which represents umbrella employers compares umbrella working in 2015 with 2017.

Key findings reveal that:

  • the average assignment rate has risen significantly over the last two years with 73% of umbrella workers earning £15 per hour or more, compared to 53% earning the same rate in 2015.
  • the average length of an assignment has also doubled in the last two years, with umbrella employees, on average, working 29 weeks per assignment, compared to just 14 weeks in 2015.
  • the average length of employment has increased by over 50% since February 2015, with contractors staying with their chosen umbrella for 46 weeks on average, compared to 30 weeks in 2015.
  • 7% of the UK’s umbrella employees are within the construction sector, which is a decrease compared to two years ago when the figure was 21%
  • and there has been an increase in umbrella within health and social care which now has 17% of all umbrella employees, compared to 6% in 2015.

Commenting on the significant changes over the last two years, Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA said: “Our evidence shows that the umbrella marketplace has developed a lot over the past two years.  Umbrella employees are enjoying a better and higher rate of pay, longer assignments and are showing more loyalty to their chosen umbrella employer.  All of this indicates that the market has matured in the last few years and offers stability to those that choose it.  The facts speak for themselves; with higher rates of pay, longer assignments and longer employment tenures, umbrella is a lot more secure than the numerous other precarious ways of working that we see in the UK today.  By working through an umbrella company, contractors enjoy all the benefits and rights that come with being an employee; they are happy with this way of working with our research showing that many contractors stay with their umbrella for almost a year (46 weeks) nowadays, which is 53% longer than the average (30 weeks) two years ago.

“We were pleased to hear MatthewTaylor recognising the importance of umbrella firms as a valuable part of the supply chain in his recent review of modern working practices.  The umbrella sector collects approximately £3bn for the Exchequer annually and the review panel clearly appreciates the important contribution it makes to the UK economy.  Our latest research along with the support of Matthew Taylor is to be much heralded in an industry which is often maligned and misunderstood.  We have come a long way over the past few years.”