What Will the Most Popular Contracting Roles Be in 2024?

What Will the Most Popular Contracting Roles Be in 2024?

As the seasons turn and we look forward to a brand new year, we cast our minds ahead to try and predict what will be the most popular contracting roles in 2024.

Contracting as a career

There are 32.88 million working people in the UK (May to July 2023) and 4.2 million of them are self-employed – that’s almost 13% of the working age population of the country. It’s an increasingly attractive career option, especially among people aged between 45-54, 1.3 million of whom work on a contracting basis. 

The reasons people turn to contracting are numerous and include a desire for a better work/life balance, a growth in demand for specialist skills, a rise in the opportunity to work remotely and flexibly, an increase in regulation and compliance legislation, and the growing realisation that diversity and inclusion policies are good for business. Contractors also enjoy the freedom to work with multiple clients, gain experience in different sectors and with different types of work, and, thanks to demand for experienced and highly-skilled staff, earn a higher salary than if they were in a ‘traditional’ job. 

For end-clients, contractors are an ideal solution to specific short- or longer-term problems, offer recruitment agility, and free them from an additional administrative burden.

2023’s Hotlist

According to Morgan McKinley’s 2023 Salary Guide some of the hottest contracting roles included:

  • Accounting & Finance – Financial Controller
  • Financial Services – Regulatory Reporter
  • Business Support – Sales Administrator
  • HR – Talent Business Partner
  • Legal, Risk and Compliance – Compliance Advisory Manager
  • Projects & Change – Business Analyst
  • Sales & Marketing – Investment Writer
  • Supply Chain & Procurement – Procurement Manager
  • Technology – Software Developer (back-end)

What does 2024 hold?

We’ve researched the contracting market and have compiled a list of the ten top contracting roles which we think will be the most in demand next year. 

  1. Financial Services – increasing regulation has led to a demand for contracting consultants who specialise in changes in the law, and individual industries’ particular regulatory requirements. 
  2. Education – one of the most important vocations, teachers are in demand, especially those teaching maths, technology and the sciences. It’s estimated that the UK will see the number of secondary pupils rise by 20% by 2024, so new teachers will need to be recruited to cope.
  3. Skilled tradespeople – there are over 26 million dwellings in the UK (2021 figures) all of which require maintenance – some more than others. Skilled tradespeople, whether they’re plumbers, plasterers, electricians or decorators will always be in demand.
  4. Hospitality and Catering – after taking a large hit during the COVID-19 pandemic the hospitality trade is bouncing back. That means there will be no shortage of jobs for  hospitality specialists such as serving staff, baristas, chefs, and catering support staff.
  5. Construction staff – the UK construction sector is one of the largest in Europe with a market size of £97.6bn (2022), mostly in private residential. Qualified and experienced planners, estimators, quantity surveyors, engineers and project managers can all be optimistic about contracting roles next year.
  6. Healthcare – developments in healthcare mean that we’re all living longer and healthier lives, and thanks to doctors, nurses, GPs, physiotherapists, mental health specialists, pharmacists and occupational therapists, to name but some, we all receive the care we need. Investment into both the NHS and private health care has risen over the years, so expect greater demand for healthcare professionals next year.
  7. Social care – as we’re all living longer some of us may need additional care when we get older. Social care specialists care for an increasingly elderly population either in their own homes or within a care setting. The Kings Fund estimate that the social care workforce will increase to over 3 million people by 2025.
  8. Veterinary – one unexpected outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic was a rise in pet ownership. This has led to a shortage of suitably qualified vets to care for our furry friends. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has highlighted a shortage of suitably qualified vets in the UK.
  9. Creatives – from graphic designers to game designers, the creative industry contributed £109billion to the UK economy in 2021, and without it we’d all lead poorer and less exciting lives. Freelance creative people will continue to be in demand in 2024. 
  10. IT – technology enables us to work and play, and those responsible for its development and deployment continue to be in high demand. Next year we expect to see an expansion of AI, more reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality in a wide variety of sectors. If you have data analytic or digital technology skills and experience expect to be able to contract where you wish in 2024.

Although we don’t have a crystal ball, and the job market depends on factors which we cannot even guess at, we’re confident that the contracting market will expand next year, and not just in the sectors we’ve mentioned. 

If you’re looking for your first contracting role, or are an experienced contractor looking for a compliant umbrella company, contact us to discover how we can help develop your career even further. Call us on 0203 603 1290, email us at hello@i4services.uk, or fill in the contact form here.