Rutherford Cross held its first Virtual Interim Roundtable for 2021 with a number of Senior Finance interim professionals based largely in the West of Scotland in attendance. After introductions around the ‘table’ we gave an overview of the interim market as we are seeing it currently.
The strong end to 2020 has continued into 2021 with interim assignments being driven by a number of key factors including: a continued strong permanent market and the need for clients to hire an interim quickly until the permanent candidate is identified; systems and projects; supporting business growth; financial planning and modelling future scenarios; and statutory reporting.
Demand for interims is being led by sectors such as FMCG/Manufacturing, Public and Not for Profit, Pharma/Health/Tech, Energy/Renewables, Engineering and Financial Services.
The conversation touched on the interim market allowing candidates to move across sectors. It is a fairly regular occurrence for private sector or financial services candidates to secure roles and thrive in the Public Sector for example. There was a question around current economic conditions related to the crisis we are all living through. There has sadly been an impact on businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors but many businesses in other parts of the economy are doing well therefore presenting opportunities for those whose jobs have been impacted or are looking to make a move. At Rutherford Cross we remain positive about the economy and the demand for interims into this year.
Our discussion moved onto the forthcoming changes in the private sector relating to IR35. HMRC are bringing in the changes to the private sector on the 6th of April this year where the responsibility on determining whether a role sits inside or outside IR35 will shift from the Contractor to the end client and / or third-party agent. Typically, a Status Determination Statement (SDS) will be provided to the Contractor by the end client using the HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) Tool. The Contractor will have a period of time to appeal the decision if they wish to challenge the outcome.
Some of the key elements that influence the determination include: is your role Supervised; can you substitute yourself mid assignment; does the end client provide you with equipment; is there mutuality of obligation between the end client and the contractor; does the contractor carry financial risk related to the assignment; amongst a number of other factors which can be found in the HMRC CEST Tool.
HMRC’s view is that up to 75% of assignments will sit inside IR35 which means there is going to be continued scope to work under a Ltd Co. in the other 25%. Also, the interim market is continuing to thrive with candidates working under alternative payment models that are not affected by IR35 such as PAYE Day Rate; Umbrella PAYE Day Rate and FTC where the candidate is employed and salaried by the end client.
Finally, we moved onto discussing the new normal of working from home. Everyone seems to have adapted to some degree and there are some who previously did not enjoy using Teams or Zoom who have grown to embrace the technology. Teams in particular can be useful in sharing your screen with colleagues during meetings and also in allowing you to invite colleagues onto a call midway through at short notice. With fewer casual conversations it allows the working day to become more structured which has been beneficial for many.
It was also highlighted the importance of taking time out during the day and making some time for yourself whether it be exercise or switching off from the laptop. Some companies have introduced coffee ‘time outs’ for employees across different teams within the business to allow them to socialize with each other during the day which has been beneficial for overall wellbeing. There was also discussion about the challenges of training and developing team members remotely as you lose out of being able to drip feed training as we would have done previously by sitting next to team members every day. This perhaps increases the need for more formal training as we continue to live in the remote working world.
Overall the Livingston James Group and the team at Rutherford Cross continue to be positive and optimistic about opportunities in the interim market over the coming months and for the rest of 2021 despite the challenges discussed at the Roundtable.