IR35 reform talk 'not hurting demand for PSCs'

A promised consultation to extend IR35 reforms to the private sector is not hurting demand for contractors who operate as Personal Service Companies, says an IT recruitment agency.

In fact, PSC workers are “continuing” to be snapped up much as they were before the vow to consult, as any extension of the reforms is “some way off,” says Sopra Steria Recruitment.

The agency’s reading follows staffing body APSCo warning that IT contractor demand and assignments are down by 8% and 38% respectively, invariably, it says, due to the reforms.

But Pete Holliday, Sopra Steria Recruitment’s managing director says that a full consultation (not just a ‘discussion document’) will take place before any changes are implemented.

And while private sector PSCs “may move to umbrella solutions nearer the time”, much as public sector contractors did in the run-up to April 2017, such a transfer is not underway.

But another transfer is. “Digital is trending and the shift is away from traditional IT to digital expertise” such as Change, Holliday said. “People with both skills sets are in high demand.”  

He described the public sector’s appetite for IT skills in the same terms, partly thanks to “new frameworks” to enable “the government to secure the high number of contractors it needs.”

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