Welcome to the News & Blog

Here at ClearSky, we want to keep you up-to-date with all the latest hot topics that may affect you and your business. This could be anything from IR35 to new legislations.

Please feel free to browse the various categories, individual posts and make your comments known to the author.

Contracting ‘no longer a minority sport’

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

Contractors have finally dispelled the myth that they are in a second-class or dead-end career, a new study has found.

Research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows that almost one fifth of UK workers have been contractors or freelancers. A further two fifths would be open to giving it a go.

The survey also found that 40% of people earning over £30,000 have worked previously on temporary assignments. Meanwhile, 22% of those earning over £50,000 have been agency workers in the past. Continue reading

How to stay productive during your contractor assignment

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

It is well-documented that contractors enjoy significantly more freedom than those in traditional employment. However, this can sometimes translate into a lack of concentration during an assignment.

Should this continue for a prolonged period of time, deadlines may be missed, resulting in serious damage to your reputation. To help, we have produced this handy guide to keep contractors focused on the task in hand. Continue reading

Top 5 public sector IT disasters

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

Tales of public sector IT debacles seem to be becoming ever-more frequent. Such stories never fail to provoke an outcry, mainly due to the vast sums of taxpayer money that go down the drain with each passing fiasco.

Inevitably, the knives come out and those in the firing line start looking for scapegoats to vilify. Yet time and again, the same excuses are given. This perhaps suggests that, despite assurances to the contrary, lessons are not being learned.

We’ve compiled a list of five of the most prolific IT disasters, outlining what happened and why. These projects have cost the taxpayer an eye-watering £16.5 billion to implement, with several failing to even get off the ground. Continue reading

Three mistakes to avoid during your contracting interview

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

As a contractor, you will have to attend a lot of interviews to secure new assignments. It is therefore essential that you know exactly how to conduct yourself, while avoiding any potential pitfalls that could seriously damage your chances of being hired.

We have created this useful guide which outlines three common interview mistakes and offers advice on how to deal with them. Following this information will help you sail through your meeting, giving you the best chance of beating the competition. Continue reading

Beckham v HMRC in tax avoidance dispute

Posted on by Mike Youds

What do Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow and Chris Moyles have in common? They are all celebrities who have had run-ins with HMRC amid accusations of aggressive tax avoidance.

Now David Beckham – something of a national treasure and undoubtedly one of the most famous men on the planet – can be added to the list.

The former England captain is one of around 33,000 people facing demands from HMRC, under new powers awarded to it under the finance bill, to pay disputed tax bills upfront. Continue reading

Contractor rates soar as demand levels rise again

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

Contractor rates increased at their fastest rate for almost seven years in June, a new study has revealed.

The latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs found that hourly assignment rates for contingent workers surged at a rate not seen since November 2007 last month, as demand for new staff continues to grow. Indeed, the rise in hiring activity far outstripped levels seen for permanent employees.

Engineering, construction and IT contractors experienced the fastest surge in demand for their services, while those operating in the accounting and finance industry were also increasingly sought-after. This led to the sharpest drop in availability since March 1998. Continue reading

Scottish oil and gas contractors ‘unfazed by referendum’

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

The majority of Scotland’s oil and gas contractors are confident that the country’s impending referendum will have no effect on their future business plans.

A survey by the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) found that 55% of respondents felt the vote was not having an impact on their operations. This is a slight dip from the 57% recorded in the previous study.

Some 38% of contractors claimed that an independent Scotland would make little difference to the oil and gas sector, compared to 12% who believed it would be a positive development. Continue reading

£1.9bn miscalculation takes shine off HMRC’s performance figures

Posted on by Mike Youds

HMRC was yesterday forced to apologise for accidentally overstating the amount of money it had recouped through investigations into tax avoidance.

The tax authority admitted that, when targets were agreed with the Treasury back in 2010, the baseline for measuring its performance was set £1.9bn too low.

This blunder meant that HMRC mistakenly claimed in the following years that it was exceeding performance targets. In fact, the amount of cash brought into the public purse was almost exactly in line with expectations. Continue reading

Contractor clinic: Top 3 tips for choosing the right assignment

Posted on by Mike Youds

As Britain’s economic wounds heal and contractor demand returns to pre-recession levels, many ClearSky clients are once again being forced to decide between two conflicting assignment offers.

The question for contractors who find themselves in this enviable position is: how do I decide which assignment to accept?

While it may be extremely tempting to simply opt for the assignment that offers the highest rate, a more prudent approach would be to assess the merits of each opportunity to decide which would be best for you. Here are our top three tips: Continue reading

UK’s booming app industry to create 30,000 jobs

Posted on by Tim Moore Beecroft

Britain’s buoyant mobile application sector will create 30,000 jobs over the next year, according to a new study.

Research from Google found that the industry is expected to generate around £4 billion in revenues for the UK economy this year. This is predicted to rise to £31 billion by 2025 as the market continues to expand.

The average salary in the sector is said to be £47,000, even though British developers are largely self-taught. Almost half of designers now generate most of their income from app development, while a fifth simply view it as a hobby. Continue reading