Preparing for Brexit as a contractor

It’s hard to know what impact Brexit will have on the contracting industry.

But there are changes to the market that have happened on the back of the referendum result. And experts predict further changes to the contracting landscape.

As a contractor, the uncertainty may leave you with some concerns. Here, we explore what has changed and what could change. And how you can prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union.

What’s already changed following the referendum?

In some industries, demand for contractors has increased since the referendum. For example, according to an article published by the Independent, legal and financial consultants have become sought after by companies. It’s thought that this is to help these companies prepare for whatever future changes may occur.

Some industries, such as construction, have experienced a rise in average salary. Randstad comment that the “[…] shrinking pool of EU talent is already driving up wages[…]”. In 2019, the average pay in this field is £45,900, as opposed to the 2017 figure of £42,300.

There is a flipside. Since the referendum, some companies have left the UK, or are planning to. Others have reduced their operations in the country due to concerns around Brexit.

This list includes big names such as Aviva, who transferred £9bn worth of assets to Dublin. Moneyram, who moved their HQ to Brussels. And Panasonic, who moved their HQ to Amsterdam, to avoid potential tax issues linked to Brexit.

What could change after Brexit?

One of the most obvious impacts of Brexit on contractors is the predicted end of free movement between the UK and the EU. It’s expected that British contractors who work in the EU will find it harder to carry on doing so. This would also apply to contractors from the EU who work in the UK.

This could affect the market for a few reasons. It could reduce competition for contracting jobs. Not to mention the potential for increased travel costs between an independent UK and the EU.

In the event of withdrawal, the market is likely to undergo legislative changes.

As mentioned, some companies have already left the UK, or are planning to downsize. It is not known how many companies plan to reduce operations in the UK if Brexit happens.

Some experts predict Brexit could be good for contractors. Outsourcing group Capita speculate that changes to immigration law could lead to more local hires. This seems true already for certain industries. For example, the increase in demand for legal service contractors following the referendum result.

What you can do to prepare

You can take actions now to prepare yourself, whatever happens with Brexit. Thinking about them now will benefit the future you.

Prepare in case of a downturn

Ensure you save money in comfortable times. It’s ideal if you can save enough money to cover at least 3 months living. That way, you’ll have a buffer if you need it.


Go to conferences and local meetups. This will improve your knowledge and help you to make contacts. Keep your knowledge of your field up-to-date to be as employable as possible.

If relevant, build your portfolio

Build your online presence to showcase your skills. This means you’re easier for employers to find and you can make contacts here.

What other skills do you have?

Look at your existing skill-set, or develop your current one to find other ways of making money.

Nixon Williams has a wealth of guides to help support you on your contracting journey.

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