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Top 10 Highly Paid Contract Roles: What Could You Be Earning?

What could you earn as a contractor

Submitted by Harry Double on Mon, 09/28/2020 - 13:18
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Whilst the employment market suffered drastically in the wake of COVID-19 disruption, things have regained a level of stability and particularly in the contracting market, the overall picture is encouraging.

According to the latest ‘Report on Jobs’ survey conducted by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG, temp billings in August expanded at the fastest rate for 20 months, signalling a renewed improvement in hiring activity.

Hiring highly-skilled contractors is often the go-to solution when organisations need specific talent to start as soon as possible; contract workers help businesses adapt fast to market conditions to help them be more agile in their specific situation.

Working as a contractor gives the professional more flexibility and, if they have a high-level of skills, offers the opportunity to earn more compared to a permanent position. Below are some of the highest paid contract roles in 2020, with most applicable to more experienced senior professionals.

The highest paid contracting roles of 2020…

Rank Discipline Job/Activity Daily Rate
1 Change Management Programme & Project Management £750
2 Legal Corporate Legal Counsel £680
3 Change Management Executive Management & Change £630
4 Finance Financial Modelling £500
5 IT Solution Architect £500
6 Marketing Products & Communications £450
7 Data Data Visualisation Analyst £450
8 Procurement Logistics, Operations & Purchasing £400
9 Compliance AML, KYC & Monitoring £370
10 Finance Control & Strategy £360

Want to know what your permanent salary would equate to as a contractor?

The decision to move from permanent employment to contracting can be motivated by a number of factors; greater flexibility, being able to select which projects you work on or rate of pay. Typically, contractors are better paid than permanent employees which is a driving factor in deciding to contract.

But how much you will actually earn will depend on whether you decide to work PAYE, under an umbrella company or via your own limited company. There are advantages and disadvantages to all options and you may want to visit the pages linked above for more information.

A regular question that professionals in permanent positions ask is “How much could I be earning as a contractor?”. There is a simple formula that you can use:

  • Your permanent salary (for example £50,000)
  • Include the monetary equivalent of any benefits that you receive and add to this sum (for example £3,000)

On average, contractors will work 230 days in a year, taking into account weekends, bank holidays and annual leave. So you divide the total of your permanent salary + monetary equivalent of benefits by those 230 days.

For example: (£50,000 + £3,000) ÷ 230 = £230.43 per day

But due to the nature of their work, contractors can typically demand a higher salary - the figure is roughly reported as being 15% more. So…

£230.43 x 115% = £265 (daily contractor rate)

£265 per day equates to £60,950 on an annual basis - significantly more than your permanent position pays!

Are you a professional considering a career as a contractor or a hiring manager thinking about recruiting contractors?

You can find out more about contract recruitment in our contracting frequently asked questions and you can learn how our Contracting Specialists can support you throughout the process of hiring or your career as a contractor. 

If you’re unsure whether hiring contractors is the right decision for your business, this article about hiring contractors in 2020 may be able to provide you with more clarity and information. If you know already that you want to hire a contractor, get in touch with us and we can identify the most suitable professional for your vacancy.

2020 Salary Guides

View the latest salary guide for recruitment insights, expected salaries and contract rates for professional roles in your region.

View salary guides

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