Umbrella company contractors enjoy higher rates of pay and longer assignments

Umbrella company contractors are experiencing a higher rate of pay and longer assignments, finds a new survey carried out by the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA).

According to the trade association for professional employment services, more high-end professionals are now adopting umbrella working.

Comparing umbrella working in 2015 to 2017, the key findings revealed:

  • The average assignment rate has risen significantly over the last two years with 73% of umbrella workers earning £15 per hour or more, compared to 53% earning the same rate in 2015.
  • The average length of an assignment has also doubled in the last two years, with umbrella employees, on average, working 29 weeks per assignment, compared to just 14 weeks in 2015.
  • The average length of employment has increased by over 50% since February 2015, with contractors staying with their chosen umbrella for 46 weeks on average, compared to 30 weeks in 2015.
  • There has been an increase in umbrella within health and social care which has now 17% of all umbrella employees, compared to 6% in 2015.

Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA, commented on the findings, “Our evidence shows that the umbrella marketplace has developed a lot over the past two years. Umbrella employees are enjoying a better and higher rate of pay, longer assignments and are showing more loyalty to their chosen umbrella employer. All of this indicates that the market has matured in the last few years and offers stability to those that choose it. The facts speak for themselves; with higher rates of pay, longer assignments and longer employment tenures, umbrella is a lot more secure than the numerous other precarious ways of working we see in the UK today.”

“By working through an umbrella company, contractors enjoy all the benefits and rights that come with being an employee; they are happy with this way of working with our research showing that many contractors stay with their umbrella for almost a year (46 weeks) nowadays, which is 53% longer than the average (30 weeks) two years ago.”

She added, “We were pleased to hear Matthew Taylor recognising the importance of umbrella firms as a valuable part of the supply chain in his recent review of modern working practices. The umbrella sector collects approximately £3bn for the Exchequer annually and the review panel clearly appreciates the important contribution it makes to the UK economy. Our latest research along with the support of Matthew Taylor is to be much heralded in an industry which is often maligned and misunderstood. We have come a long way over the past few years.”


Alastair Stallwood is an Apprentice for ContractorUmbrella Ltd, one of the UK’s Most Respected Umbrella Companies.