At Simplify Consulting our Associate Pool continues to be an integral part of our business, enabling our ability to deliver on client commitments, whilst maintaining our ethos of providing Consultants, who are practitioners in Change as well as Wealth and Asset Management. We have a strong and broad range of skills and experience that enable us to provide the right people for the various engagements we deliver. A key part of our strategy is to getting to know our Associates, ensuring they align to our high standards. We recently went to London to meet some of them for a drink, this is one of my favourite parts of my job, partly because I can legitimately have a drink during working hours but mainly as I get to speak to our Associates in a non formal setting and just get to know them better.

It was interesting to hear their views on the market, IR35 as well as the types of engagements they are seeing. In the last 3 years we have come into each year expecting it to be a tough year and whilst there have been challenges along the way we have found the market to be pretty buoyant, enabling us to further grow our business. This year for the first time in a while, I’m hearing more and more about it being a more difficult market, with less opportunities and whilst we have seen elements of this, its clear that many of our Associates are finding it more challenging.

IR35 remains a factor as many companies are still refusing to do status determinations to see if work accurately sits inside or outside IR35 regulations. Thus moving more work to FTC, Umbrella arrangements or Permanent, which is a step change for many who have previously operated primarily via a Limited Company. Whilst the Government in their emergency mini budget in September 2022 announced they would redact the changes brought in April 2021, this was quickly reversed along with many other changes, which were designed to encourage growth. It remains a common view by those affected that IR35 isn’t fit for purpose, the changes have only shifted the problem from the service provider to the end client and in many cases their response to that has been to de-risk by treating every piece of contract work as inside IR35. Hopefully the Government recognise this as an issue and a simplification of the rules will ensue, ensuring work can be accurately and fairly be assessed as inside or outside meaning the correct tax and NI is paid.

The shift in market conditions has resulted in Associates being more open to different contractual arrangements, reduced remuneration, broadening skillsets, obtaining qualifications and travelling further afield. In a more competitive landscape compared to recent years these are some of the actions being forced upon the contractor market, especially those who would rather work than wait for a role that meets very specific requirements, which may not be as close around the corner as previously experienced. We continue to work closely with our Associates, providing updates on the trends we are seeing, opportunities we have, IR35 impacts, support with professional profiles and much more.

Get in touch if you want to know more about our Associate proposition.

Matt Short

Matt Short

Business Manager