• Contractor Signup

    Contractors Use State of the Art Tech to Maximise Income

    Contractor Accounting Services

    London 12th March, 2014 – To assist contractors to maximise their incomes, Elevate Direct the end to end direct contractor recruitment platform, has announced a formal partnership with Crunch Accounting, the cutting edge provider of online accounting services for contractors and freelancers.

    Crunch’s cloud based fully comprehensive tax efficient accounting service, provides unlimited support to contractors for only £64.50 (+VAT) a month.  Dan Collier, CEO & Co-founder of Elevate Direct says “We’re happy to be partnering with Crunch to provide additional value added services to our Elevate user base. Both our companies use state of the art cloud based technology to help support the careers of contractors. For us it’s about fundamentally changing the way contractors find jobs but also streamlining and facilitating that process.  If a candidate is new to contracting, they may need to form a limited company, or need to find an accountant quickly, this is where Crunch can speed along that process. For Crunch it’s about providing modern and professional support to contractors on demand, on the go, 24-7.  It seemed a natural partnership between two technology driven companies”.

    Whether they need an accountant, to switch accounting providers, to form a limited company, or to discuss how to make their income more tax efficient, contractors can find out more by clicking here.

    About Elevate Direct

    Elevate Direct is the only cloud based end to end Contractor Recruitment Solution that allows employers to recruit contractors directly, significantly reducing the high mark up costs associated with hiring a contractor through an agency.

    About Crunch – Contractor Accounting Services 

    Crunch is a groundbreaking online accountancy firm for freelancers, contractors and small businesses. By combining accredited, award-winning in-house accountants with internally-developed cloud software, Crunch delivers a complete business accountancy service for a flat monthly fee. No costly extras, your own personal account manager, and maximum tax efficiency.

    Click here to find out how you can benefit from the partnership between Elevate Direct & Crunch accounting.

  • Contractor Signup

    5 Essential Resources for Contractors

    5 Resources for Contractors - Elevate Direct

    At Elevate Direct we do what we can to help contractors progress their careers.

    That’s why we’ve searched the web to bring you 5 websites any contractor should think about bookmarking.   Whether you’re looking for tax tips, legal and accounting services, or simply want to keep up to date with the latest contractor industry related news, you’ll find it on one of these sites.  So here we go in no particular order:

    1)      Contractor UK            

    You could be an experienced contractor, or you could be a first timer, either way if you’re an IT contractor then Contractor UK is the site for you. A variety of information on contractor news, mortgages, legislation, managing expenses, jobs and contracting abroad is at your fingertips.

    2)      Contractor Weekly    

    Don’t miss your weekly fix of contractor tax & business news.  A host of resources regarding contractor’s guides, insurance and finance are available. Be sure to check out the ‘Popular Articles’ section and the ‘Top Providers’ list of contractor vendors.

    3)      Contract Calculator   

    Thinking about contracting?  Wondering how much you could earn? Check out Contractor Calculator.  With no less than 20 different contractor calculators, you’ll have no excuse for working out how to attain that desired income!

    4)      Freelance Advisor     

    In their own words “Freelance Advisor is written and run by freelancers and contractors for freelancers and contractors”.  Authentic content brought to you by your peers, don’t forget to check out the ‘Recommend Reading’ and ‘Reader Offers’ columns.

    5)        IT Contracting          

    Struggling to find the time to stay up to date with the latest IT contracting news?  Then visit IT Contracting.  Their concise weekly roundups make this the ideal source of contractor information for you.

    That’s our roundup of 5 essential resources for contractors. Are you currently looking for your next contract? Then log into Elevate Direct and find your next contract!

  • Contractor Signup

    Will you still have a job in 10 years?

    Will-You-Have-A-Job-in-10-Years Elevate Direct

    Here’s an interesting fact: 40% of the most “in-demand” jobs in IT did not exist ten years ago.

    Here’s a frightening fact: many of the so called “white collar” knowledge based jobs that exist currently will disappear in the next ten years – rendered obsolete by advances in technology.

    The “new” jobs include almost anything to do with Internet technology, advances in biological engineering, genetic engineering and all of the other brave new worlds that have appeared in recent times.

    The jobs that will disappear will go in some really surprising business sectors including law, accounting, retailing, general management and even, dare I say it, the recruitment sector that Elevate inhabits.

    We can see the effects of this now; the self service checkouts in supermarkets, the closure of ticket offices on the London Underground and elsewhere, travel agents dis-intermediated by the ubiquity of information available on the web, and so on and so forth.

    In fact it would not be inappropriate to compare the current changes in industry with the disruption caused by the Industrial Revolution that moved workers out of the fields and into the factories and workshops of the world.

    Should we all be scared? The answer is almost certainly “yes” in the short term but “no” in the more distant future. It takes time for revolutions in the workplace to offer benefits to the general population.

    What happens is that the early beneficiary of technological advancement is Capital, that is, those people or institutions that have funds invest in the new businesses that promote the disruption. You can see this happened in the 19th century when investors built railways, factories and steel industries. Later this moved to energy companies whether providing power or harnessing it for the purpose of people’s use. Huge fortunes were built on the back of these early innovations just as they are being made in the tech worlds of today.

    You have to remember that these early innovations, that we take for granted now – and which we would not choose to live without – were not universally popular. The Luddite’s of 19th century Britain took great exception to the mechanisation of the weaving industry, smashing looms and generally resisting the march of progress. What you have to remember however is that in those times the average person might only own two or three entire sets of clothes. Go look in your wardrobe and see how you would manage today with only three shirts, two jackets, three pairs of trousers and one pair of shoes. Horrible isn’t it. But you don’t have to live like that because weaving technology made clothes plentifully available.

    So Capital gained and Labour (by which I mean the workers who were displaced) lost. In the short term.

    Gradually however, the advances in technology meant that more and more people were employed in factories making more and more articles for people to consume. Even now there are intelligent people who question whether this is such a good thing – but I don’t see them living in unheated houses with outside lavatories or returning to till the land behind a horse drawn plough so I tend not to take them too seriously.

    And in the end of course Labour realised that Capital needed Labour to drive the onward march of progress and to disseminate the fruits of Capital’s investment. Sadly we are probably not at this stage of the process with current day disruption but trust me, it will come. When it does, the employment landscape will have changed beyond recognition again. What are we all going to be doing, I haven’t the faintest idea but what I do know is that skills, transferable skills, will be key to getting a job.

    What do I mean by that? Well, here’s an interesting fact. Musicians are usually very good with computers. There’s a correlation because both music and computing rely on mathematics. Mozart was a good mathematician – probably a better musician, but still a good mathematician. So if you are a decent musician but not making a great living then perhaps you should look at IT as a career. That’s what I mean by a transferable skill.

    The other thing to do is to get as much exposure to different industries as you can when you are young. It doesn’t matter what you do, you will get knowledge in the process. In an earlier life I canned peas, stacked pallets and drove a forklift truck. The other day a mate of mine needed to move some heavy troughs. Lo and behold, my experience with forklift trucks came in very handy. And working in the IT sector, I have always been able to hold a sensible conversation with potential clients about factory production as a result of this employment.

    Finally, go and work for the underdog and make a difference. What I mean by that is that you don’t have to work for the industry leader. The industry leader has only one way to go: down. Much better, and possibly easier, to work for the number two or three – or even the number one hundred and two or three and help that business move up the leader board.

    So, grit your teeth and push onward. The sun will come out, we just don’t know when.

  • Contractor Signup

    The Fragmenting Workforce – Part Two

    The rise in contingent  working – from the  Hirers’ perspective

    The previous blog article covered sentiments leaning towards increased use of contingent labour and this was highlighted in the REC’s 2011 Working Paper ‘Talent Acquisition in Turbulent Times’ and by other sources. Of note, Staffing Industry Analysts’ (SIA – http://www.staffingindustry.com/row/) 2012 Contingent Workforce Buyers Survey, published in October, European buyers predict their organisation’s contingent workforce will be a median 17% in two years. This is up 2 percentage points from 2011 and 6 percentage points from 2010.

    If the US is to form a precedent for the UK, Staffing Industry Analysts predicts the US contingent workforce will double in size to 50% by 2020. Some organisations within the IT sector are already close to this figure. To enable organisations to start to even think about operating contingent working on such a scale, the structure and infrastructure of the recruitment process has to be fundamentally reviewed. This structural review also extends, for many, across into how employee status is viewed. For Barry Hoffman at Computacenter, “there is no such thing as permanent employment. The interview process extends across at least the first twelve months”. If he has a concern, it is that those seeking employment have an outdated attitude to risk. “Their attitudes towards job security just haven’t moved in line with the market.”

    The rise in contingent working – from the candidates’ perspective

    Randstad’s Navigator Report, http://www.randstad.co.uk/the-navigator-2012/, published early in 2012 noted the words of Andreas Ghosh, Personnel and Development Director for London Borough of Lewisham (and Policy Lead for Workforce Strategy at the Public Sector People Managers’ Association). For Ghosh, the shift has been clear: “The world of work has changed… The intelligent individual is in control of his or her own market, while the rest still require patronage.”

    Randstad’s own candidate research echoed Ghosh’s views. Nearly half of the 2000 candidates surveyed, who were in permanent positions, considered freelancing when they last looked for work. Slightly more say they would consider this option the next time round.

    Of those working in contingent roles, findings relating to choice of doing so were consistent with official available data and other research into candidate sentiment.

    One big change therefore is that the layers of the extended enterprise – all those who work on behalf of, rather than necessarily for an organisation – are ever increasing:

    There are many HR considerations that come into play from such a move, not least for the process of recruitment. An examination of the increasing use of three key areas of this extended enterprise may point to some of the changes to this process that may, by necessity, start to play out. We are seeing new technologies being developed to support these activities as we know only too well here at Elevate!

    We’re sure you can expect more activity in this arena (and from us) very soon.

  • Contractor Signup

    Why getting a job has never been easier (or harder!)

    Remember when getting a job involved looking through a newspaper or responding to an advert in a shop window? Probably a lot of people reading this won’t remember that, but it was still certainly the norm when I started working in the recruitment industry almost 15 years ago. Writing your CV out carefully by hand or borrowing a word processor was the norm until the early 90’s. Posting and faxing was the normal method of getting your CV out to employers, and you always received a nice rejection letter in the post on return, signed by a human! Compare this now to the humble jobseeker who’s CV has passed through the mincer of some faceless ATS (Applicant Tracking System), which has taken 40 minutes, only to receive an immediate automatic curt “Thank you” and we will be in touch within 8 weeks if it is of interest to us but please note we get millions of applications so please don’t feel aggrieved if we never come back to you.

    You may be one of the many who go through the recruitment agency route, applying to something on a job board, where your CV now goes into the dark pool of the agency world. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good agencies out there, who understand what you do and will do their best to match you up with opportunities that actually match. What happens in the agency world is this – Agencies fight for good CV’s, attracted by job boards mostly, for a relatively inexpensive advert. They’re looking for a few things normally, length of employment, calibre of clients you’ve worked for, and skills. Once they receive a good one, they will email it or pass it through the ATS to the employer. Eventually you may get word of an interview, by which point you’ve probably given up hope or moved to Australia. If you do get a job through the agency, they will charge the employer typically anything from 15-30% of your starting salary; unfortunately this makes employers reluctant to use agencies if they can help it, as you would imagine. A tech start up needing to hire an average size team of 4 developers, 2 QA’s and an Agile PM, is potentially looking at fees of upwards of £60,000.  On the contract front, an average day rate of £400, will incur a daily fee of circa £60-£75. Over the course of the year this adds up to a potential cost of having that contractor of £18,000; that’s fee’s to the recruitment agency for supplying the contractor.

    In recent years technology has been changing the way people get found. There is a lot of talk around “Social” being the way forward; there are numerous sites offering to tap people’s social networks for referrals, which may be an interesting route to jobs/people. Personally I don’t want my employer asking me to send jobs out to my friends/network all the time; OK once or twice but I don’t want to be seen as a spammer and besides it takes me away from my day job. A big site that tried and failed this recently was called Zubka; they had millions in funding and died a death. LinkedIn offers an interesting route to jobs but as a jobseeker you’re not going to want to share sensitive information on an open social network, especially not when your current employer could see it! Jobseekers are now faced with literally hundreds of job boards, sector specific, tech specific, aggregators liked Indeed.co.uk which scrapes content from over 40,000 sources including corporate homepages, but again, where do you start? The problem the jobseeker faces today is information overload; around 500,000 new jobs found on Indeed in the past 7 days when this article was written. Breaking this down and just looking for developer, programmer, engineer or coder the jobseeker is still faced with a potential 227,000 jobs in the UK!

    What LinkedIn has done is change the mind-set of everyone; the idea of having a searchable profile online that anyone can see didn’t exist before LinkedIn, although people tried. So now, most professional people have a profile on LI, not everyone but most. It’s quickly become a fertile hunting ground for the professional agency recruiter, so much so that people are now switching off. Our CTO receives an average of 5-10 irrelevant approaches a day from recruitment agencies on LinkedIn. For the corporate recruiter it’s one of many tools that they now include in their armoury and the switch from using agencies to direct sourcing has definitely been helped by emerging social tools like LinkedIn and Twitter.  It will be interesting to see what Facebook do in this space as they are keen to monetise away from advertising.

    There won’t be just one winner in the technology platform space for how people get work, it’s a huge market and there isn’t one solution that will necessarily win out over others. The sensible corporate will use multiple routes to finding good people, continuing to reduce dependency on 3rd party recruiters as technology enables easier and slicker access to talent pools. The “War for Talent” isn’t something that will ever be won; there will always be a shortage of skills in certain areas and quite frankly as a technologist that’s the way you want to keep it. It means your skills are always in demand and you’ll be able to continue to earn in the higher earnings bracket.

    Tech City UK recently stated that there are over 1500 tech start-ups in London, a real competitor to the Silicon Valley is emerging, right here around us, with hubs like Skillsmatter right in the thick of it all.  As an engineer how do you find out easily which firms are looking for your skills, or doing cool stuff that you want to get involved in?

    With so many routes to a new job out there it’s never been easier to access opportunities. This has had the unfortunate side effect of making life very confusing for the jobseeker; especially in today’s uncertain climate, where costs are king, the way to get a job is to go direct, if you can get through the gatekeepers!


    Elevate are co-sponsors of Find Your Ninja @ skillsmatter and are putting together an initiative to connect jobseekers and start-up employers for free – You can find out more information @ elevatedirect.com

    Dan Collier is co-founder and CEO of the Elevate Platform.