World Mental Health Day 2021

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the federation for Mental Health, is ‘Mental health in an unequal world. It is also a chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.

||           “With stigma still surrounding mental health, it can be difficult to get the help needed.”

Between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services at all. With stigma still surrounding mental health, it can be difficult to get the help needed. Government policies which limit access to health care, education and public transport causes people in lower income households to be unable to find the time, money, or resources to improve their mental health. Alongside this, pollution and a lack of healthy food lead to poorer physical health, which in turn increases the risk of depression. These are all more common with people struggling in poverty due to an inability to live in the countryside or afford fresh, healthy food.

||           “Equal wealth provides far more opportunities to children”

In the UK, children and adults living in households in the lowest 20% income bracket are 2-3 times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the highest bracket. Equal wealth provides far more opportunities to children, and so it is vital to encourage education systems (schools and universities) to be more aware and understanding of mental health; as well as provide more resources and support to care for children and young adults who need it.

||           “Companies have to make positive changes to their work environment”

Employment has a major effect on someone’s mental health and relies heavily on the quality of work, pay, management, and many more. Job insecurity, low wages, and health risks all contribute negatively to mental wellbeing. Companies have to make positive changes to their work environment and ensure fair wages are provided in order to combat this wealth inequality.

||           “we understand the importance of life outside of the office”

Highfield value the mental wellbeing of employees as we strive to continuously improve the working environment in order to create a space that is supportive and relaxing. Alongside this, we understand the importance of life outside of the office, which is why we have implemented and extended our 4-day work week trial so that more time can be spent ‘switching off.’

Our mission is to become the most trusted built environment recruitment business, and that starts with our teams. If they can trust us to provide a work space that is happy, healthy, and equal, then they are more able to deliver a high standard service to all our candidates and clients.

We work hard to ensure mental health is recognised and cared for at Highfield. Some of our efforts include:

  • 4-day work weeks
  • Remote working
  • Mental health first aiders
  • Relaxing breakout room and kitchen space
  • A healthy and collaborative work environment
  • Supportive and engaged management
  • Constant team events

With many more scattered throughout the office and our work practices, we continue to add to this list and adapt it, so as to be certain that Highfield is a fulfilling place to work.

If you’re interested in being a part of the most trusted recruitment agency, then we have a range of vacancies available!

  • Resourcer- property
  • Resourcer- FM
  • Global Recruiter
  • Experience recruitment manager
  • Talent hunter
  • Senior recruitment partner

Book a call with Annie https://bit.ly/2Xw8FBG to chat about our positions or ask us more about Highfield.

Become a part of somewhere that values your wellbeing and mental health, and strives to demonstrate its honest transparency through every step of your career.

The Challenges faced during a job search: Understanding the potential company

Job searching can be difficult at the best of times but to make it even harder, it can sometimes be confusing when trying to understand exactly what the new company has to offer. They might have a flashy website or a busy social media, but what do they really do? In our recent poll on Linkedin you told us that while looking for a new role, one of the challenges our candidates struggle with most is understanding the new company they are applying to.  

When you’re looking for your next role, the process is often daunting and difficult. Everything down to updating your CV, writing cover letters, and sending out more emails than you care to admit. However, once you’ve managed to find that job advert which appears to describe the perfect role, now comes the time to figure out if the company shares the same values as you. 

|| “The website might be outdated or confusing” 

Sometimes, the company has very little information about itself online. The website might be outdated or confusing and any reviews of the business are unhelpful or rare. A great place to explore is social media. More and more companies are expanding their presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc, which makes it far easier for you to learn more about what they do and what the working environment is like.  

|| “figure out if it’s a place that fits your needs” 

Social media allows for business to show off what they do, who their team are, and make them more available to contact. All of this provides more in depth understanding and behind the scenes knowledge about how the company runs so you can begin to figure out if it’s a place that fits your needs. In any case, it will hopefully help you to gauge what the people are like who work there and engage with the business, giving you a clearer idea of how the work environment and culture are represented. 

|| “our consultants at Highfield do the leg work for you” 

Even though it is free to have social media pages and incredibly easy to set them up, some companies still lack an online presence. There is only so much research you can do, and by now you’ve probably already had to search through a vast number of potential employers. To take away all of these steps and give you more time and energy to spend elsewhere, our consultants at Highfield do the leg work for you. With their expertise and connections within the industries they specialise in, any questions you have about an employer and their company can be answered by our team.  

|| “They will take care of you through every step of the process” 

You no longer have to spend hours sifting through either too much or too little information and instead allow your consultant to match you with the right job and tell you all you need to know in a simple phone call or email. They will take care of you through every step of the process and check in even after you’ve successfully got a new job so they can make sure you’re settled and happy. We’re always open to candidates looking for new roles so whenever you’re ready to start down a new path or progress further along the industry you’re in, our team will be there to guide you to the next stage of your career. 

|| “We have the skills and resources to provide you with all the information and opportunities you need” 

Make the stress of job searching and understanding the new company far easier by letting our team handle it for you. We have the skills and resources to provide you with all the information and opportunities you need, including an in depth understanding of our clients and their requirements for your new role. This can allow you to be as prepared as possible for interviews and help guide you to the dream job without having to figure it all out alone. 

In just one phone call, your whole career path could change. Call our consultants now on 01489774010 and kickstart the process towards enticing, new opportunities. We’re excited to hear from you and waiting to lead you to a role perfect for your skills and aspirations. 

We are carbon neutral!

After years of supporting the renewable energy industry, we took steps into becoming carbon neutral. After an analysis of our emissions, we have become a part of carbon offsetting programmes in and around the UK as we continue to move towards an overall reduction of the energy and carbon we produce. Urgent action is needed in order to care for and save our planet, and Highfield are excited to be a part of that as we pursue this journey of sustainability.

Why did we decide to do it?

There is no doubt that the planet needs us all to drastically reduce the amount of carbon and waste we are producing, sooner rather than later. We take our responsibilities as a company seriously, with a constant effort to improve our environmental and social impact. Over the years, we have made consistent small steps so that the actions we take have minimal negative effects, such as being a paperless company and ensuring lights and heating are switched off inside unused rooms. Alongside this. we have embraced remote working, helping to reduce the amount of Highfield team members who commute on a daily basis. 

How did we do it?

The first part in understanding how to reduce your carbon emissions is knowing how much you have and what areas are the most damaging. An assessment of the company allowed us to see exactly where we were using the most energy and creating the highest amount of carbon, so we could begin working on solutions to reduce them. This first step can be done independently, however, we chose to have Carbon Neutral Britain calculate it so we could be sure of the most accurate and detailed results. 

After some weeks of researching various companies, we chose Carbon Neutral Britain because they worked alongside you throughout the process of becoming carbon neutral, offering support and guidance at any stage. There are a wide range of companies keen to assist businesses, offering a range of packages to suit their needs. 

Once the carbon emissions had been calculated, we were able to decide on which offsetting portfolio we wanted and begin working on reducing the emissions we produce. This is currently an ongoing process as we aim to reduce the amount of unsustainable energy we use, instead of relying on balancing the environmental cost afterwards. 

What’s next?

Offsetting is a debated solution. It is a great option to counteract emissions that cannot be reduced or created sustainably, however, it risks creating other problems in the future. We want to be fully supportive of the environment and therefore continue striving to create as little carbon emissions as possible. It is a far healthier and efficient process to start with sustainable practices in the first place, rather than compensating it later on. Highfield are a trusted recruiter, so acting with legitimacy and honesty is important to us. Everyone has a responsibility as we all live and thrive on this planet, and as a company we are keen to do our part. 

Highfield are incredibly proud to be carbon neutral and even more excited to keep improving and making changes for a better world. Businesses are the third most emitting sector in the UK, below transport and energy supply, making up around 18% of carbon emissions. As a part of such a largely contributing industry, we aim to be a part of the progression to sustainability and green energy. A report from the government shows provisional estimates from 2020 of a fall in carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 10.7% compared to 2019. This large decrease is primarily due to the pandemic and the lockdowns as it caused a reduction of 19.6% in CO2 emissions for transport, making up over half of the overall decrease from the previous year. 

We want to help lead the way to a sustainable future, taking action and responsibility to provide an example of what can be done as well as encouraging others to follow. Offering support for other businesses as we tell our story and collectively work for a brighter, greener planet.

Recruiting the best recruitment agency

It can feel like a bit of a minefield when searching for an agency that you can trust to save you time and provide the right candidates to expand your team. Having a smooth-running team with the best talent is a goal every company strives for, and we can help you get there.

||        Agencies allow you to utilise your time wisely

We understand that your time is valuable. When a position within your team or on a project opens up, getting it filled sooner rather than later is important. Agencies allow you to utilise your time wisely, so it’s vital when interacting with a recruitment agency that they are knowledgeable and efficient in their practises in order to create a strong profile for your vacancy. If you’re permanently needing to be involved with repetitive phone calls or emails then it may start to feel as though you could have done it yourself. Highfields professional consultants don’t need their hand held through your search for a candidate. Once we have had a clear, in-depth discussion to understand the exact needs you and your company require, you can relax knowing that we have it handled. We’ll keep you up to date so you can be kept in the loop without feeling that your time is being unnecessarily wasted. Have a quick chat with us today on 01489 774 010 to see what we can do for you.

||           Any agency looking to succeed will aim to gain unrivalled expertise

Finding a well-informed agency can help make the processes significantly smoother, bringing a vast amount of knowledge and training to result in finding the right candidate for you. Recruitment is an extremely competitive industry, so any agency looking to succeed will aim to gain unrivalled expertise. Surface level understanding of the industry and its opportunities can lead to a slower response for agencies, making it all the more important for you to be confident in who is searching for your candidate. Our consultants are trained specifically within their sectors, with their passion and own interest providing insightful knowledge that general training may not cover. This expertise shows an attention to detail that we aim to reflect in every part of our interaction with you.

||           Acting with honesty and speaking truthfully makes it easier for clients and candidates to trust us

The competition is tough with a lot of recruitment agencies and only a certain number of positions, so understandably you are searching for the one that’ll work for you. Having trust in an agency to provide a candidate in good time and of high quality is essential. Finding the best skills to add to your team can be a crucial link to improving or maintaining the standard of your business, and a candidate falling below that can waste time and resources. With over 20,000 candidates placed into both permanent and contract roles, it’s safe to say that we have a good idea about what we’re doing. Integrity is one of our values here at Highfield because we believe it is one of the most important traits to demonstrate, and leads to stronger relationships with those we interact with. Acting with honesty and speaking truthfully makes it easier for clients and candidates to trust us. This is supported with high-end results as we deliver on our brand values and help you find leading talent and skills to join your team. 

Summary

It can be challenging to find an agency to fit your needs; one that portrays trust, knowledge, and values your time. We work hard to find the best talent and provide an invaluable experience at every step, so if you have a vacancy or you just want to hear what we have to offer, give us a call on 01489 774 010.

Managing the return to work for your employees

Many people’s expectations for the working environment have changed. With new methods showing the capability of remote working, it has become a favoured idea for those already in the workforce and the younger generation stepping into it. The coronavirus vaccine rollout is giving us a promising light at the end of the road, and businesses need to look towards the future as people begin returning to work. Working from home has impacted a vast amount of people and highlighted this new potential way forward as a way of working, breaking out from the rigid routines of daily offices. Coming to the end of the pandemic means there will be many people uncertain about returning to work and the idea of going back to the old ways can feel like a step backward. A combination of working in the office and at home will create more satisfied employees and increase productivity.  

People are asking for more flexibility now with the opportunities to work from home several times a week. As a company, it will be important to keep up with these new ways of working or someone else will; making it significantly harder to retain talent. A global survey of more than 9000 knowledge workers (roles including architects, engineers, scientists, and design thinkers) reveals the high percentage of people from countries such as the USA, UK, France, Japan, Germany, and Australia all wanting to have a hybrid work environment. This hybrid-style allows for the opportunity to work remotely at least 1 day a week and gives employees the chance to balance their time between the office and home. 72% said they prefer the combination of remote and office work, with the rest split fairly evenly between preference over fully returning to the office (12%) and exclusively working from home (13%).  

There have been many pros and cons discovered by this abrupt move to remote working and everyone has been affected differently. With only 3% of respondents saying they feel no benefit to working from home, we are left with a vast majority of people who have found parts of their working life far easier. Some of the most common benefits included no commuting, saving money, and improved work-life balance. Higher levels of satisfaction with remote working is felt overall as employees have reduced levels of stress and anxiety, plus a better work-life balance gives them more leisure time and opportunities with family.  

Challenges are certainly felt as well. The top challenges with working from home included unstable Wi-Fi, feelings of loneliness or isolation, and keeping up with what others are working on. When it is no longer as simple as turning your chair around to someone and getting an immediate answer to your question, there needs to be a strong focus on communication. Not to mention the lack of bonding when it’s harder to discuss what everyone got up to over the weekend, or their exciting dinner plans when it’s over messages and emails. Maintaining and building working relationships with colleagues was a difficulty many people found, leading to a decreased sense of belonging, which was particularly prominent in new employees. Not everyone is able to work remotely either. People in jobs such as construction and engineering are required to be on site and in particular locations, making it harder to create a hybrid environment.  

A mixture of both benefits and challenges is affecting everyone uniquely, and there are steps you can take as an employer to make the transition back to work easier, as well as adapting to new expectations. Such as, keeping a hybrid approach that provides employees with flexibility. It’s not just beneficial to those returning to work, but can also increase productivity across the board to help your business thrive. As a company, it is key to plan exactly what will happen. There has been a lot of confusion and uncertainty throughout the pandemic and the working environment, so be clear in what you are doing, as well as what you want from the team. Having set dates and plans for when people return to work means that it is easy for employees to know where they need to be and when. It’s understandable that plans may change based on government advice or a shift in circumstances for people, so be sure to prepare for as much as you can and allow for flexibility in details. Phasing people back may be helpful in order to create a smoother transition, and don’t forget, it’s been a while since many of us interacted with someone face-to-face!  

It can’t really be emphasised enough, but communication is vital, whether that is informing people of changes to plans or to thank them for working through a time period that is new to us all. Guidelines and rules change often so be sure to know your own plan and communicate it clearly to employees. Remote working requires heavy attention on how much people are in contact with each other and there are so many ways of making it easier. Overall, it is important to have flexibility with your team and understand that returning to work for furloughed employees may be a more difficult transition.  

With almost three quarters of people from diverse countries having new expectations from the work environment, there are many benefits gained for both employees and businesses. To keep up with the competition, providing employees with flexible, hybrid working makes your business far more attractive to potential talent and retains the skills you already have. If you are looking for new members to grow your team, we can help! Give us a call to find out more and let us discover the best skills to keep your business moving forward. 

Making changes for equality and inclusion within your business

2020 was tough to say the least, so what is 2021 going to bring for us now? There are a lot of challenges that we continue to face, and as a business, it is going to be tough to know where to start. With the growing skills gap and an entirely new generation entering our workforces, there can seem like a lot to figure out, and we’re here to help you take the steps you and your business needs. With our dedicated team, there are a lot of skills we can discover from all backgrounds that can fit you. Reaching into minority groups can open the skillset wide, filling the industry with talent that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Equality is one of the biggest issues raised today. With constant pursuits of inclusion and diversity within the workplace. Creating an equal environment is at the forefront of decisions and actions. There should always be this strive to create equal opportunities and improve the lives and workspaces of people. And we should always listen. Diversity and inclusion is at the top of the list for many businesses and organisation. Realising your representation of ethnic minorities and women within engineering and construction, and how that can be changed to develop a more equal playing field.

The construction sector in the UK has always struggled with the gender balance, with less than 1% of 800,000 construction and building trades workers being women. In 1984, WISE was established following the Finniston Report on the future of engineering in the UK as a way of combating the lack of women in these industries. The report highlighted the need for a wider talent pool of scientists and engineers; positions which women can fill. This has helped bring light to the issue and contributed to a range of campaigns, such as the WISE campaign, which raised the profile of women and girls pursuing STEM subjects. The Engineering Council collaborated with the Equal Opportunities Commission to create the Women Into Science and Engineering year- the WISE year. The main focus of this year was to educate young girls on the opportunities within engineering and construction; a strategy that could be key in reviving this increase in diversity.

There are Ten Steps created by WISE to help identify areas of improvement for your business. Each of these steps is designed to drive company performance and remove the hurdles that stand against creating a genuinely inclusive culture.

By making the industry more known and accessible to young girls, it can create an achievable environment and help reduce the stigma of girls choosing male-dominated subjects. With an increase of more than 600 girls completing STEM subjects at A-levels, there is a clear interest in it. Along with a strong drive from generation Z as they are entering the workforce, pushing the movement for equality and diversity, partnering with school will help educate this generation and give them direction into these industries that are trying to change their reputation.

There have been studies showing the challenges faced for women compared to ethnic minorities, however, there was always a running theme of discrimination. To shift the reputation of the construction industry to reflect the non-discriminatory environment that it can be will help create a huge change in attitude for women and minorities. Many may fear the workplace based on its challenging reputation which leads to discouragement in applying for job roles and therefore potentially leading to a huge loss of skills.

By opening the doors to diversity in the workplace, there will be the opportunity for a wider pool of talent and therefore help close the skills gap further. We can help attract these skills with our extensive knowledge and experience. Call us to discover what new candidates we can find for you.

Making equal opportunities to diverse groups provides many benefits for everyone involved. An inclusive platform allows for a range of new ideas, talent, and development as we push for innovative designs and processes. The interest in STEM subjects for girls is increasing every year and we can help keep that momentum with support for young girls and minorities and a shift in perspectives for engineering and construction. We always have our sights set on getting a diverse range of the best talents as we look for skills that anyone can put their minds to and work towards as a career. See who we can find for you on 01489 774 010.

Gen Z – do you have a recruitment strategy for them?

Each generation that is born, brings something completely different. Understanding and accepting this is important. Why? Because it tells us how we are growing and evolving, as well as predicting what might come next. New paradigms mean new strategies and with millennials as the globalization era, generation Z is the digital era. With many parts of life accessible via online methods, it would likely be a waste of effort and resources to force keeping old-fashioned ones.

It’s not just the ease of having online access to everything for this generation, but the environmental awareness that comes with it. Removing paper filing and records keeps companies more conscious on their waste impact, as well as the bonus of being able to access your business anywhere, at any time, by anyone you wish with the convenience of a shared online space.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z is roughly people who were born between 1996 to 2010. This age group is ranged between 11 to 25 years, meaning they are already in various workforce industries, and exactly why companies need to start thinking about their strategy for recruiting this generation – they have probably learnt to swipe before they can speak…

So, let’s go through some of the characteristics that Gen Z has:

Their social media habits differ from previous generations – even millennials. For example, on average, Gen Z uses their smartphones 15.4 hours per week—more than any other type of device.

They are the most diverse generation yet – They are very open to new ideas/concepts and have a strong sense of self-expression. Not something to be afraid of as an employer. This makes for a far more diverse range of new thoughts and practices that can be implemented by your business, opening up the potential to expand and appeal to future generations.

Not utilising platforms that have a far higher traffic than is achievable through paper CVs, could see you missing out on an opportunity to reach a vast number of potential candidates. These include social media site of which this generation are frequently connected to in one form or another.

Millennials were the ones that saw the birth of social media – however generation Z are the ones who came out of the womb using it. Statistics show that:

They spend an average of 15.4 hours a week on a smartphone

78% of people between the age group of 18 – 24 years use Snapchat

71% of people between the age group of 18 – 24 years use Instagram

95% of people between the age group of 18 – 24 years use YouTube

Gen Z people using Facebook dropped by 20% between 2015 to 2018. During the same duration, usage of snapchat and Instagram increased by 28% and 20% respectively.

While a few millennials used LinkedIn, statistics show how hardly any of Gen Z use the platform.

Why is recruiting Gen Z Different?

Recruitment generally speaking, is a combination of marketing and sales. You want to attract candidates and convert them into successful hires. When finding the right candidate, you look for the most relevant skill set.

Millennials go straight to job boards such as Indeed & CV library, making it easy for companies to post on these sites and follow up with emails to get the candidates attention. But… things are starting to change now. It shows that generation Z have a briefer attention span, preferring visual mediums, rather than text driven content. With how easy it is to have an abundance of information at your fingertips, it is no wonder that companies might be finding it harder to stand out in the sea of adverts, announcements, and articles.

Generation Z love for content to be right in front of them, which is why they like in-app notifications, push notifications and social media over email.

What changes can we make in recruitment for Generation Z?

Recruitment is very traditional – they rely on email, job boards and telephoning people. So how can we up our game? Here are a few strategies we could be using to recruit Gen Z:

Get a company YouTube Channel – remember they are a visual generation. Everyone’s time is valuable so avoiding big walls of text can be far less of a deterrent. On the channel, show the behind the scenes and the companies’ achievements, appealing to a more relaxed work environment.

Facebook Advertisement – Using ads that will crop up across all social media channels is a great way to recruit candidates. Also makes the process a lot quicker. Facebook can target certain audiences with the interests and skills that you want.

Make your website interactive – put on your website as many videos you can, over big lengthy text. Don’t forget as well, the longer someone stays on you website the higher your SEO will rank.

SMS text marketing – instead of emails, send follow up messages through text. This is the mobile generation after all.

Summary

Now that we have observed how generation Z use social media and technology, we can see how different they are… even from the generation just before! They look at the world differently, and that’s because they can see the world from just a touch of a button. So, get those visuals in place because with generation Z, if they can’t see you, they won’t use you.

What flexibility will be lost for PSCs with IR35s new changes?

How much is going to change for Personal Service Companies during IR35s shift in liability? With not just the concern for a lack of control over the final determination, there is unease over what will happen to the flexibility of contracts. If deemed inside IR35 then the ability to work under your own terms, setting your own fees and hours to work, as well as being able to take on multiple contracts are not a part of the contract.  

With many benefits coming from working as a limited company outside IR35 it can be seen as an attractive position, but many of these benefits help both the contractor and client. Although the shift in who determines the status will highlight those illegitimately working outside IR35, it means it could also be putting those legitimate cases at risk. With a lack of understanding or preparation, many clients and agencies are looking to blanket ban all outside IR35 work, making it much harder for outside IR35 contracts to be found. By offering outside IR35 contracts to PSCs, we are constantly trying to match up the right work with the best talent, maintaining fairness with combining legitimate outside IR35 workers with appropriate contracts. 

When losing an outside IR35 status there are many benefits no longer available to the contractor, in addition to potentially losing 20-30% of their income.  

  • Working their own hours 
  • Taking on multiple contracts 
  • Expenses no longer covered 
  • No substitute 

With travel expenses not covered for inside IR35 contracts, there is little incentive for limited companies to work on long distance roles, restricting this flexible workforce and making it equally hard for clients to find the best talent. Being able to utilise these can help provide better skills and results to projects and attract further work in the future, benefiting both client and contractor. Causing these to be restricted has meant many contractors are prepared to find alternative roles or discontinue being a contractor altogether. In a survey conducted by Contractor Calculator of more than 12,000 contractors, 23% said they intend to quit contracting due to IR35 leading to a potentially far smaller pool of talent to choose from for clients.  

What can you do?  

Be a part of the process and make your own assessment to bring a more robust decision to your employment status and opening up the opportunity to challenge the outcome if required. As a part of this, going over any current contracts to make sure they reflect the actions you are doing in the role off paper. Just having it written in the contract may not be enough to show your status and by performing the role as described in your contract then the guidelines within which you are working are made clear. 

Status determination statements are legally required to be given to contractors under limited companies as they give the chance to challenge determinations made by the client or agency. Despite this, only 38% of respondents in a survey say they have been provided with a Status Determination Statement. While the clients, fee payers, and contractors can all make an assessment, SDS’ provide a final chance for you to get appropriate IR35 placement as clients are required to meet the 45-day challenge process. Having these three parties individually assess your role can lead to a more robust determination, alongside giving you some control within the process.  

With the concern of clients being unprepared, it is vital for YOU to have as much understanding as possible so as to be able to seek the right work for you; whether inside or outside of IR35. The initial delay for when it will come into effect has given more time, but with few companies taking advantage of that it is valuable for all involved to take action. Speak to one of our experts to gain guidance in getting a status determination reflective of your work.  

Survey reference: 

https://www.contractorcalculator.co.uk/rife_payroll_non_compliance_killing_flexible_557410_news.aspx

PSCs concerns: loss of 30% earnings with IR35 changes

Getting IR35 wrong can be costly. Both contractors and fee payers are at risk of losing out without paying careful attention to IR35 assessments. With contractors at risk of losing between 20-30% of their income if their status changes it is no wonder some may be nervous about who makes the status determination. 

Making it the responsibility of the client to now make an assessment on whether a Personal Service Company is deemed inside or outside of IR35 has the potential to cause these contractors to feel they have lost control of their personal earnings. This is not entirely true. There are some clear actions you can take to be involved in the process, alongside having the opportunity to challenge the final decision. This shift in liability will help to discover disguised employees, and classify them with the correct determination.  

The majority of contractors had hoped the initial delay in the changes to IR35 could help ease their concern over their clients understanding and ability to correctly assess their IR35 status. Giving them more time to get to grips with the legislation and view each PSC within the extended timeframe. However, 63% of contractors surveyed would rate their current client’s knowledge on IR35 negatively. Being a part of the process can make it easier for everyone involved. 

What you should be doing now 

Educating yourself on the IR35 changes is the first key step in order to understand what to look for in new roles and how you can challenge a status determination that you disagree with. Communication is always a vital part of any process, so if you’re in a contract that will continue beyond April 2021 then discussions with your hiring manager and agency can help you establish what actions have been taken to prepare.  

While a vast majority of the responsibility now lies with fee payer, there are actions you can take to be involved in the process in order to get a fair assessment. You can evaluate whether these three main points that determine IR35 are within your contract as well as the actions you take within the role. Ensuring that the performance in the role is reflective of the contract will reinforce your status and allow you to work in the clear definition of either outside or inside IR35. 

  • Substitution  

Being able to send a substitute to complete the work on your behalf. 

  • Direction 

Being directed on how to complete the work by the client, using instructions, guidance, and advice. 

  • Control 

Someone is dictating what work you do and how, including the power to move you to different tasks. 

There also should not be a mutuality of agreement, meaning that both stating within the contract and being carried out in the position, the client has no obligation to offer you more work as well as an absence of obligation for you to take it can indicate the contract is more likely outside IR35.  

Working with a proactive agency that advises their clients on how they can assist your process of determining an appropriate status. At Highfield, we have many years of knowledge regarding IR35 and have spent time understanding the changes, so contact us via [email protected] or phone a consultant on 01489 774010.  

Anyone within the process can make an assessment such as the client, contractor, or the fee payer (like a recruitment agency). Statement determinations from all three will make for a far more robust outcome, creating consistency and certainty through multiple matching decisions and making it even more important to have clear understanding on these changes from all involved. Clients are required to provide a Status Determination Statement (SDS) which is used to: 

  • Declare a contractor’s deemed employment status following an IR35 assessment 
  • Provide the reasoning behind the conclusion. 

This SDS allows you to see how the determination was reached in a fully detailed way, giving you the opportunity to challenge a decision if there are specific factors that can be disagreed with. Alongside this, it helps to prevent companies from enforcing blanket determinations due to requiring justifications for individual workers through the SDS.  

So, take action in your own earnings and utilise the options and people available to get your contract recognised with an appropriate status determination. Speak to our experts and avoid risking losing 30% of your take home pay. 

Make IR35 work for you; how to retain and attract your best talent

IR35 changes in April 2021. Are you concerned about contractors going elsewhere? Some of the best talent will be looking for correct assessments and processes, which they will now be relying on their clients to provide. IR35 doesn’t have to be daunting but instead could be beneficial to your company, bringing and retaining the best skills to keep projects running smoothly all with the flexibility that is provided by contractors. 

Understanding IR35 and the new changes is your best starting point. We have plenty of experts so feel free to ask us about any concerns you have at [email protected] or view our IR35 Hub to understand a little more. There is one main point you need to be aware of with this change and that is where the responsibility and therefore some of the risk will now lie. As of April 2021, it will be down to the fee payer to provide an IR35 assessment to all contractors working for the company, which in turn brings the risk with it.  

It will NO LONGER solely be the responsibility of the contractor. It is yours. 

With businesses already contending with the various challenges that the pandemic has presented it is not surprising that this may feel a little overwhelming, however, it is a crucial process to get right. In a survey of companies with 30-200 staff, 73% of them have classified themselves as having little or no process/system for the new IR35 changes. 

There are many benefits to hiring contractors.  

  • Cost savings 
  • Specialist skills 
  • Flexibility 
  • Ease of separation 
  • Temporary cover 
  • Start at short notice 
  • Ease workload for permanent staff members 

Particularly with the current climate, having flexibility and an ease of separation allows you to not feel the need to take on a permanent member of staff but are still able to get projects completed, without overloading current staff members and while utilising specialist skills.  

Temporary workforce makes up 22% of the UKs overall labour market, highlighting the importance of contractors as they support the economy and provide great benefits for companies in completing projects quickly and effectively.  

Bearing this in mind, it would be desirable to retain those specialised skills and become attractive to future talents looking to be recognised as appropriate outside IR35 contractors. The most ideal way to demonstrate this is through case-by-case analysis of each contractor working for your company, giving the opportunity for each person to be defined for their individual work. Demonstrating a professional in-depth understanding of the legislation shows the value to which you hold contractors and deeming them a great asset.  

This fair and informed process can be time consuming or confusing, however, there are plenty of experts that have handled IR35 for many years who are able to help clients and contractors alike. We have invested time and energy into understanding the best ways to make IR35 work for everyone involved. Specialists with clear resources and training are on hand with guidance to keep legitimate contractors working outside IR35 with ease and help take risk away from clients. Involving experts as well as the contractors themselves throughout the process can make it faster and clearer, alongside providing the opportunity for contractors to be involved in their own outcome.  

To summarise: ways of retaining the best talent can be 

  • Having the in-depth understanding of IR35 (check out our IR35 Hub
  • Case-by-case assessments (avoiding blanket decisions) 
  • Open opportunities for experts and contractors to be involved in the process 

This way of making IR35 work for you creates an efficient and smooth process with individual assessments showing care and attention as you make the company attractive to contractors, leading to the potential abundance of the best skills and talent to choose from.  

Highfield are a Certified Carbon Neutral Business