Searching for your next career move may seem like hard work, a bit of a hassle and in some cases pretty nerve-racking. Although we can’t promise to calm the butterflies in your stomach before the big interview, when it comes to making sure you get the job you want, with the company you want, we’re here to help!
We’re hugely proud of our highly trained in-house recruitment specialists and the expertise and support they’re able to provide you within a constantly changing market. Whether you’re looking for your next permanent or contract assignment we can offer you the support and guidance you need.
Throughout the whole process I felt very encouraged and motivated by the recruiter. I was given very detailed information about the different job offers and James helped me understand what all of them consisted of. He answered all my questions promptly and in detail.
This was my best experience with a recruitment agency so far. Tom has managed to find a role which is a perfect match for my skill-set. His commitment and feedback throughout the entire process was second to none. The tips and documentation provided were fantastic and have surely produced results in the interview room.
I found Nicola to be very friendly and very straight talking. I have found a lot of recruiters in the past to waste a lot of time, however Nicola was very honest from the start and acted professionally at all times.
I dealt with Tom at Understanding Recruitment and he helped me prepare for my interview/presentation and liaised back and forth on my behalf a number of times with various queries I had. Tom was responsive, understanding and very helpful indeed and I would not hesitate to use his services again. Thanks for getting me my new job!
It’s no secret that the post-COVID job market is booming, and with applying on LinkedIn and other job sites easier than ever, you may be asking yourself: do I really need a recruiter? Isn’t adding an extra party just further complicating what can feel like a long process? We don’t think so, so we are here to answer the question of why use a recruitment agency to find a job – broken down into five reasons, because we know you’re busy… 1. Saves your (precious) time The benefits of using a recruitment agency are huge, if like most tech professionals: you’re likely short on time to spend on a job search but full of know-how that makes you extremely lucrative in the market. Job searching, reading through specs, and researching companies can take hours. Specialist recruiters exist to take the hassle out of job searching and already have long-standing relationships in your industry. They are also most likely recruiting for more than one job for the companies making big moves in their sector, so one conversation could lead to multiple potential opportunities. They know everything about a role(s) and have spent hours finding out all it will entail and the career progression in a company, so you don’t have to – and you get access to all of this for free! A quick chat with a recruiter and they can figure out your must-haves and would-be-nice desires for your next role, to ensure they find the tech job that ticks all your boxes. Let them organise your interview(s), paperwork and more, and be your own career concierge when it comes to finding the match of your dreams, and save you a huge amount of time in the process. Perhaps best of all, a recruiter may come to you with an opportunity you maybe wouldn’t consider on paper(like working for a start-up or in a new industry), but on talking to you they see you could be a great fit – and you never know, it could be just what you’re looking for! 2. They really know your market and the company ‘What does a recruitment consultant do?’, some people may ask. We can’t speak for all of them of course, but the good ones get to know the companies they work with inside and out and know who will slot into a team and hit the ground running. You want your next job to be a great fit across all areas and to do this you need to know: The company culture (beyond the front of a website) What the salary actually could be (beyond ‘competitive’ or a broad range) Which projects you’ll be working on What their tech stack is like Remote/office time reality (whether set in stone or any flexibility) Working with a recruiter allows you to gauge the culture and social side of an employer, negotiate any flexibility (or find out if there is more if you’re specifically looking for an office/remote split), as well as ensure you’re getting paid exactly what you should for the market rate and your experience (their pay literally is based on getting you the best salary!) >>> Check out our jobs & compare your salary <<< 3. You can be fully open with them about what you want We realise it can sometimes be challenging to have conversations regarding salary expectations, why you’re leaving your current role and your ideal work flexibility/time in the office directly with a potential new employer. Having your next move supported by a recruiter allows you to really be honest about what you want and allow them to do the hard work to get it – especially useful when it comes to salary negotiation! This minimises the risk of making the wrong career move, and all the stress that comes with that, and having to move roles yet again. 4. Get direct feedback (and no ghosting!) Ever put your CV and/or cover letter forward or gone for an interview and never heard back from a company or had to wait for ages for a follow-up? Yeah, we’re not fans of that either – this is why some recruiters (including us) only work with clients that meet a certain standard when it comes to how they operate. The best recruiters will be in touch with you and their client throughout the process, and communicate honestly at each stage – and you, in turn, can benefit from getting feedback as soon as possible, and share how you’re feeling at each stage. 5. Know the full process and time-frames for receiving an offer Everyone’s on the same page when you work with an experienced recruiter – no confusion, lack of communication about stages and the decision-making process when it comes to hiring, and as clear time-frames as possible. Quality recruiters understand that there’s nothing worse than not knowing the times things are going to be moving at when you’re ready to move on and have a notice period to work, so they do everything within their power to get feedback for you. Overall, think of a recruiter (especially more specialist ones focused on one particular market, like tech) as your free career concierge – here to listen to your needs and find you something special that’s going to enhance your working life. They’re in your corner, and are rewarded to get you in front of decision-makers and shout about how great you are, and go that extra mile beyond what an online CV send can! So, have we convinced you to use a recruiter to find your next job? Get in touch to see how we can help! Form ID:3677
Java team member Charlotte Young is a shining example of career progression at Understanding Recruitment, and since joining as a Researcher in 2018, has gone from achievement to achievement to work as Senior Recruitment Consultant. We meet her to find out her advice for those at the start of their recruitment career, the Java developer recruitment market, and what she enjoys about #LifeAtUR. What was your career journey before joining the world of recruitment? I studied Geography at Cardiff University and working at Understanding Recruitment was my first ever full-time job. What appealed to you about working in recruitment? I was exploring various lines of employment-related to my field of study. When I realised how competitive it was, I reached out to someone I knew in recruitment to find out a little more as I heard he was progressing very quickly in his role and earning great money too! He passed my CV onto UR and after several interview rounds, I secured a position by Christmas of my final year of university! "UR was a team of about 40 when I joined and now there are 75+ people! The company created values that are adhered to throughout interviewing new prospective recruiters and also has a collaborative working culture." What do you enjoy about working here (e.g. people, skills, culture, what you’re learning)? Everyone at UR is hugely supportive of each other. We celebrate successes as a team and we show compassion and support others when things don’t always work out the way we would like. We have a mentor/mentee system at UR where we, as recruiters, constantly learn from one another as well at AURA (our learning hub). I’m always learning from my manager who takes the time to listen to my questions and coaches me to the right outcome. Overall, UR places a huge emphasis on its values and it’s great to see an organisation that is an advocate for collaboration and setting high expectations with a strong reputation. How has Understanding Recruitment evolved since you joined? The first noticeable change is size! UR was a team of about 40 when I joined and now there are 75+ people! The company created values that are adhered to throughout interviewing new prospective recruiters and also has a collaborative working culture on the sales floor. UR also hired in-house trainers who have now put together an extensive training programme for new recruits which has been great and joiners are getting off the mark very quickly! What excites you about being part of the Java industry right now? There is no better time to be a Java Developer than right now, as our 2022 Java Talent & Salary Report demonstrates – the job markets we work on have been very candidate-driven, with salaries higher than ever for tech professionals, and overall job packages increasingly including the likes of equity options nowadays. It’s great to see new industries emerging (e.g. FinTechs, MedTech, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence) with really exciting opportunities in Java. It’s interesting to see the industry adapt to the increased demand for more flexibility around working hours and working from home too. What significant changes have you seen in the job market and hiring in the past couple of years? In addition to becoming more and more candidate-led and demand for hybrid or fully remote working sky-rocketing, some sectors have been expanding at an extremely quick pace (e.g. MedTech, cybersecurity). I also see that counteroffers are on the rise in the market, as organisations really do not want to lose staff – projects become business-critical, and it costs them more to re-hire someone else. What’s a standout memory or highlight from your 3.5 years at the company? My first deal was definitely a standout memory – I was actually abroad on holiday when I found out! My promotions were the most important milestones for me personally, especially my first ever promotion. There was a lot of build-up and it was proof to me that I could really do 360 recruitment. One of my clients is also the company’s biggest client which is also a highlight for me looking back on how far I’ve come. What’s your advice to someone considering a career in recruitment? I’d say good things take time and it’s all about not giving up – ride the wave and good things always come. It’s cliché, but I’d also say to remember that diamonds are made under pressure! It can be very stressful at times working as a recruiter, but the reward is absolutely worth it! Additionally, make sure the organisation you join really invests in your training. It’s important to ensure it has a comprehensive training and onboarding programme, as well as continuous bits of training throughout the year to make sure you are constantly improving in your role and using the latest tools to support you. What are you most excited about looking to the future working at Understanding Recruitment and in the Java sector? I’m most excited about growing out my own team and starting management – I have even already secured my first hire for the summer! I’m also really excited to continue helping my current clients and scale out my client base with some more exciting tech companies that are evolving quickly. Thank you to Charlotte for giving a glimpse into Tech Recruiter Life and look out for more spotlights on other members of the UR team on our blog soon! Does a career in tech recruitment sound appealing? Find out more below!
As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, I’m not only reminded of the talented women we’re lucky to have within Understanding Recruitment but also the positive progress we’ve made over the years to ‘break the bias’ (this year’s theme) and encourage both technology and recruitment as a career path for everyone, regardless of gender. Thankfully, times are changing, and we’re seeing more women being encouraged to drive technological innovation across the world. That said, despite the positive shift, the statistics we’re seeing are still shocking, with several sectors having as much as 85% male-identifying people versus 15% female-identifying individuals within their teams. So, how can hiring companies tackle bias in their recruitment processes and overall lead the way for more gender diversity in the workplace? A TOP-DOWN APPROACH In my opinion, it’s the job of everyone involved in the hiring process, from the top down to be mindful of diversity every step of the way. And to help with this, it’s really important to have different people with multiple perspectives involved to help eradicate unconscious bias of any individual during the process. Here at Understanding Recruitment, we’ve introduced unconscious bias training and support around inclusive hiring so that everyone is aware of their unconscious biases and how this can impact the recruitment process. Across the business, we regularly review our internal interview and recruitment process to help eradicate any bias as well as promote and encourage new ways of working, including part-time working which sadly can be all too often overlooked within our industry. We’re also members of Women in Recruitment, within which there are mentoring opportunities to help encourage more women to have a seat at the table and elevate their careers. Additionally, we have an internal mentoring scheme so that all our team members can reach their fullest potential. We recognise from a range of research carried out that people involved in the hiring process are often encouraged to look for a certain profile or behaviour. However, we know that this negatively impacts business performance and in turn, companies are losing out on talent without knowing it. THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY Companies that embrace diversity are proven to be much better positioned for innovation and perform better. It also creates more diversity of thought and approaches in the workplace which research proves makes for a far more productive and successful business. In my experience, companies that are growing quickly sometimes haven’t been deliberate enough about their hiring process and end up allowing unconscious biases to creep into their decision making. Although a lot of companies are already aware of this issue and claim they are trying to make their hiring processes less biased, it is easy to fall into the trap. In many cases, people don’t even realise they’re doing it. “In my experience, companies that are growing quickly sometimes haven’t been deliberate enough about their hiring process and end up allowing unconscious biases to creep into their decision making.” We advise our clients to work with standardised competency-based questions, making sure questions don’t vary between people so they are interviewed objectively. Letting interviewers pick their own questions means that their experience of the candidate can vary. While some people might just have a friendly chat based on common interests, others interrogate the candidate. This means that people often end up being recommended for the role based on a personal connection rather than their ability to do the job, a fact often supported by the company’s staff retention rate, a statistic often ignored. The good news though, is that the easiest place to remove unconscious bias is in recruitment. Taking the time to make biases visible will help companies address them and improve the diversity of their teams. And whilst we’ll be fully celebrating International Women’s Day here at Understanding Recruitment, it’s the work we’ll be carrying out throughout the year around breaking the bias that really matters. DISCOVER OUR 'DIVERSITY IN AI' SERIES: Catherine Oxley, PolyAI: https://www.understandingrecruitment.co.uk/blog/2021/08/annas-diversity-in-ai-series-catherine-oxley Priscilla Boyd, iTech Media: https://www.understandingrecruitment.co.uk/blog/2021/09/annas-diversity-in-ai-series-priscilla-boyd Ye Tian, Wluper: https://www.understandingrecruitment.co.uk/blog/2021/10/research-scientist-ye-tian-on-working-on-amazon-alexa-and-the-value-of-nlp Yue Wang, Samsung: https://www.understandingrecruitment.co.uk/blog/2022/02/diversity-in-ai-series-samsungs-yue-wang-on-propelling-the-ai-industry-forward
This year, a lot of contractors have been wondering what impact IR35 is having on recruitment when it comes to opportunities and how they need to work. One of the first initial questions we commonly get as a contract technical recruiter from professionals is: ‘Is it an “outside” IR35 job?’, so we thought we’d do some myth-busting, as well as launch our new off-payroll (IR35) FAQ. What is IR35 – simplified? “IR35” isn’t new, it’s the name given to the tax legislation in the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA). IR35 applies to any contractor working through a Personal Service Company ‘PSC’ and seeks to ensure that PSC contractors pay the correct employment taxes and NICs. Essentially, IR35 was introduced to ensure that PSC contractors, who would be employed by the client, if it were not for the PSC they work through, pay PAYE and the correct National Insurance contributions. IR35 seeks to establish whether a contractor is genuinely self-employed or a ‘disguised employee’ for tax purposes. How do you know if you’re ‘inside’ or ‘outside' IR35? If you are considered ‘outside IR35’ then you are classified as genuinely self-employed and can receive gross payments to your Ltd company and enjoy the tax advantages that come with it. If you are considered ‘inside IR35’ then you are ‘a disguised employee for tax purposes’ and are required to have PAYE tax deducted prior to your Ltd company being paid. If the off-payroll working rules apply then the end client that you are working for is responsible for determining whether you are genuinely self-employed or a disguised employee for tax purposes. They will take into consideration the contracts in place as well as how you will work and interact with the end client. The key principles considered when determining if an assignment is outside or inside: Your off-payroll status is not determined by one factor, instead, all of the below factors are considered to paint an overall picture of your employment status for tax purposes: Direction and Control Do you have complete autonomy over how, when and where you complete the work? Or; Does the client specify that you need to be at the office, what hours you should work and when you can take a lunch break? Does the client request that you report to a manager to provide updates on your progress? Substitution Are you able to send an alternative worker in your place, if you are unable to fulfil your obligations? Or; Are you personally required to carry out the work? Do you have practices in place that show how you would enlist a substitute if you haven’t previously used one? Mutuality of Obligation When your contract finishes, is the client obliged to offer you further work and extend your contract? Are you obliged to accept an extension, if your contract has come to an end? Are you obliged to complete a notice period, similar to length to that of an employee? Other factors to consider: Financial Risk Are you required to correct any faulty or sub-standard work at your own expense and time? Are you required to hold business insurance to protect yourself from any claim that could arise against your company? Do you incur expenditure on training to ensure your skills are to the required level for the engagement? Do you provide your own equipment? Part & Parcel Do you have access to all the same staff facilities that employees do? Do you attend staff meetings? Do you attend staff social events or receive staff benefits? Exclusive Service Do you work for just one client or do you work for a number of different clients? Have your contracts been renewed numerous times? Basis of Payment Are you paid a fixed hourly/daily rate? Self-employed people are often paid by the job. Intention of the Parties Did the end client intend the worker to be self-employed? Are you engaged through a contract which is a contract of service or a contract for services? How are small companies affected by IR35? On 6th April 2021, the IR35 changes in the private sector were introduced, which means the responsibility for operating the off-payroll working rules are now on the fee payer rather than the contractor. This means that both Public and Private sector clients are now responsible for determining the IR35 status of an assignment. The new working rules only apply to medium and large private businesses as ‘small companies’ are exempt. The definition of a small business is based on the s382 Companies Act 2006 which means that a company qualifies as small if two of the following conditions apply for two consecutive financial years: Annual turnover – no more than £10.2 million; Balance sheet total – no more than £5.1 million; and Number of employees – no more than 50 employees. If an individual “provides services to a small client outside the public sector, the worker’s intermediary is responsible for deciding the worker’s employment status and if the rules apply,” according to official government guidance. Let’s break it down and try and reduce any headaches when it comes to IR35. What effect is IR35 having on contract recruitment in tech? Since updates to IR35 came in in April 2017, it’s reported that as many as 35% of contractors have moved on from self-employment. Contractors are stated to be moving into permanent employment, overseas work or not working. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), over a third (34%) of professionals are working through umbrella companies and over a third are also working through engagements ‘inside’ IR35. As a contract recruiter, we are disheartened to see some professionals leave the contract sector and want to reassure our contract and freelance partners that we only foresee growth in contract jobs available in the sector. Our dedicated contracts team has grown at a record pace this year and is having a number of roles come in to fill with the brightest contract talent. Need advice or support on your next tech contract role? IR35 is a notoriously complicated matter and differs on a case-by-case basis. Read our IR35 FAQ below to find out more about the legislation and how it may affect you or get in touch and one of the team will be happy to help. There will always be a demand for contractors due to their diverse skillset and ability to bolster short-term projects, irrespective of IR35, and we’re here to partner with you on the most exciting opportunities in tech contract recruitment. Form ID:6286
As office life gradually returns, we’ve been reflecting a lot on wellbeing at work following the past two years of adjusting to a new way of life during the pandemic. We’re on a mission to do all we can to support our tech recruitment team, whether with flexible working, team days, or clear career progression, and lead the way on wellness like the tech partners we work with. With the tech recruitment business bouncing back hugely and significant internal growth taking place, it’s been an ideal time to check-in on and hone what we have in place to support everyone, whether their job title states recruiter, marketer, accounts, or director, so they can live a fulfilling life inside and outside work. There are of course the huge rewards of working in recruitment when it comes to financial incentives, skill development and career progression, and supporting someone in finding their dream role. Work stress can affect us all at some point, however, even if we are supported by great colleagues and meeting our targets. How is recruiter work wellbeing? One pre-pandemic report stated that in 2019 nearly three-quarters of surveyed recruiters had had some form of mental wellbeing issue to deal with that year, with over half stating they’d been affected by anxiety. Another study from Every Mind at Work found 38% of recruiters stated their mood as ‘up and down’ (with 25.7% reporting their general mood as ‘happy’ and 11.8% as ‘average’), with over 60% saying they notice sudden changes to their mood. Our team spend most of their time at work, if they are struggling it’s vital to do our part to help them feel their best again (more about this below) and having things in place in our work environment and support available so the occasional low points are as manageable as possible. We don’t want wellbeing at work just to be a tick box exercise, but what we have in place to make a real-life impact on how staff feel in the long-term. Empowering employees to talk about mental wellbeing Of course, one of the most important facets of wellbeing at work is not being afraid to have an open dialogue about mental health in the first place. The earlier CSG study mentioned above stated just over half of surveyed recruiters were comfortable talking about mental health challenges with their manager. These figures indicate recruiters may struggle to discuss mental health in the workplace, so it’s integral to everything else we have put in place to foster a positive, supportive work environment – from the top down. Our journey to supporting every employee’s wellbeing at work is ongoing, like everyone else’s, but we have the following in place for our employees and are always on the lookout for new ways to bolster our wellbeing, so the team feels supported as possible and crucially, enjoys working here! How we work to support wellbeing at work: 1. A welcoming work environment We moved into newly refurbished headquarters in 2019 and the feedback has been great. We have six breakaway rooms from our main office space, as we recognise sometimes staff may need a break from their desk or bustling office, or need to have a one-on-one chat, and a pool table and seating area in the kitchen for lunchtime. Our kitchen is stocked with fruit, drinks, snacks, and coffee if anyone needs a boost. Staff are welcome to take a two-hour lunch to fully recharge their batteries and we finish early on Fridays. We also have a casual dress code so everyone feels as comfortable as possible at work. 2. Clear communication and career progression We recognise and see every day as tech recruiters that often the reason people leave jobs is feeling stagnant and not valued by their employer anymore. This is why, as well as regular team catch-ups, reviews and one-on-ones with line managers on everyday progress, we also check-in with our staff’s personal goals so we can work collectively towards great things. We’re well aware that achieving goals releases ‘feel good’ chemicals dopamine into the brain and is really important for our ambitious team. Listening, furthermore, is one of the most important ways we can support staff, whether it’s about something new a team member wants to do, an extra piece of training or their ambitions. "We have clear pathways and education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels unprepared for the next step in their career" Training is a huge part of what we do, that’s why our growing Training & Development team and other staff run useful training on all areas of tech recruitment from a starter’s induction (and work wellbeing) and beyond. We have clear pathways and internal and external-led education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels overwhelmed or unprepared for the next step in their career as a recruiter. It’s also important for us to recognise people’s talent and growth when they’ve been achieving fantastic things not just when there’s an empty desk when it comes to job promotion. We’re certainly never opposed to really shouting about when someone has done fantastic work on our Microsoft Teams chat, too! 3. Work from home flexibility We are proud to say that working from home isn’t just a benefit we’re going to offer due to the pandemic, but as we return to the office too. We recognise our recruiters have a life outside of Understanding Recruitment, and the more stress-free it is, the happier they are going to be as employees. That’s why we offer hybrid working and two days a week at home for those who want to for easier childcare, dog care… whatever is going on in life! Working from home wellbeing is hugely important too, so we’re often hopping on Teams chats to check-in and share work, just like when we’re in the office. 4. Health & fitness benefits For those of the team who enjoy a gym session, we’ve got it covered. We happily offer gym membership for our team members, so they can enjoy a workout and lower their cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to be in the best headspace possible. It’s important to keep the mind fit too, so everyone can access a paid-for subscription to the Calm app and practice meditation, listen to soundtracks and sleep stories. We’re big fans of the app and it’s been known to reduce stress and improve mindfulness and self-compassion in short-term contexts. We also offer a Cycle to Work Scheme for anyone who wants to come into our St. Albans office via bike. Our Employee Assistance Programme is also available for anything affecting a team member’s health and wellbeing in the longer term, with an online health portal, 24/7 help phoneline and in-person support available if needed. 5. Recharge time We offer unlimited holiday for Understanding Recruitment staff who have been with us two years, so they can enjoy their travels or a well-earned relaxation break and come back recharged. A 5 and 10-year sabbatical is also available – read what our long-term employees Tom and Nicola got up to on their adventure-filled sabbatical. Our top performers also are treated to breaks internationally (though locally, more recently due to the pandemic) every 6 months and year, as well as a trip to swap our St. Albans headquarters for our Acceler8 Talent office in Boston, Massachusetts. 6. Wellbeing Committee We’re proud to have a Wellbeing Committee, comprised of different employees across teams, who work to improve and promote all things wellness across the company. We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best and help them with advice or point them in direction of support. "We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best." 7. Team spirit! We have regular check-ins across our UK and US offices to celebrate the wins of the week and the great achievements some of the team have made. Every department also has a wellbeing day and budget to take the team out and enjoy an activity (crazy golf is a very popular choice!) and some food and drinks, as well as an end of year celebration. We also have a Social Committee in charge of organising events throughout the year and we’re passionate about there always something going on for the team to get to know better at and unwind after all their hard work. We’re still learning and introducing new elements of workplace wellbeing, and this is where our journey has taken us so far. We’ll continue to foster an environment where conversations about wellbeing are the norm, because we’re only at our best when everyone is feeling their brightest. If our wellbeing offering sounds like it would be a good fit for what you look for in a company, then do check out our internal vacancies! Mental Wellbeing resources: https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/ https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/if-youre-having-difficult-time/signs-you-may-be-struggling-cope/practical-ways-help-yourself-cope/ https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/ https://mentalhealth-uk.org/
This is a guest blog by Umbrella Company Parasol. The perils of being caught up in a tax avoidance scheme have been well documented in recent years. These vehicles, which are set up with the sole aim of avoiding tax, bend the rules of the tax system in a way that the government never intended for and pose big risks to anyone who enters one - even if by accident. Work through a tax avoidance scheme and you may find yourself under investigation from HMRC and end up having to pay a lot more than the tax that you tried to avoid once retrospective tax payments, fines and even interest are all totted up. So needless to say, freelancers, contractors and umbrella employees need to know what a tax avoidance scheme is and how to steer clear of one. But how do you recognise a non-compliant arrangement? What are the hallmarks of tax avoidance schemes? Too good to be true If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is. Many tax avoidance schemes claim that with their help you can compliantly take home upwards of 85% of your income after tax. This is unrealistic without some kind of tax avoidance or illegality taking place somewhere along the line. ‘Non-taxable’ payments Tax avoidance schemes often pay people through loans, annuities, bonuses or shares that the promoter may claim to be ‘non-taxable’. In other words, they advertise that tax doesn't apply. This simply isn’t true given any income above the personal allowance threshold is subject to tax. You may have heard of the Loan Charge, which was a retrospective tax introduced by the government in 2019, affecting people who had operated through tax avoidance schemes dating back as far as 1999. These contractors, who were paid via ‘non-taxable’ loans, often bought into these schemes on the basis that they were compliant. In short, HMRC decided they weren’t and a reported 50,000 individuals were told to pay back missing Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. Complicated arrangements Confusing payment arrangements - whether through loans or offshore trusts - that you struggle to make head or tail of, should be avoided. So be wary of complicated processes that divert money through a chain of companies, trusts or partnerships. And if your contract doesn’t clearly state how your income will be paid or detail all deductions, it could be a tax avoidance scheme. ‘HMRC approved’ Many tax avoidance schemes claim on their website to be ‘HMRC approved’ - you might notice a stamp of approval somewhere on the site. The problem, however, is that HMRC never endorses schemes. So beware of any provider that says it has been endorsed or certified by the tax office. Difficult to contact Tax avoidance schemes targeting contractors operate in the shadows and you are likely to struggle to find out much information about the business. If you want to do some digging into a particular tax avoidance scheme you’ll do well to find anyone to speak with or contact. In many cases, these schemes make very little information available deliberately so as to avoid having to answer difficult questions about their legitimacy and keep a low profile. On HMRC’s radar With tax avoidance schemes seemingly on the rise in recent years, HMRC are unsurprisingly clamping down on them and a number are under investigation. The schemes that HMRC believe have the hallmarks of tax avoidance arrangements are listed on the government website. It goes without saying that if you have any concerns, walk away. Does all of the above apply to businesses? Not necessarily. There are still many unscrupulous businesses out there promoting schemes that claim to avoid tax and often these are short-lived. Whilst many will bear the majority of the hallmarks above, the one thing they will all have in common is a claim to reduce your tax bill by using contrived payment arrangements. If you are a contractor or freelancer that is looking at using an umbrella company, you should be paying employment taxes on all of your income. Any arrangements that suggest otherwise are not worth your time, or the risk. If you'd like more advice on contracting connect with our Head of Contracts Jack Cascarino on LinkedIn & check out our latest contract jobs.
As Michelle Obama said: "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." At Understanding Recruitment we're proud to be an equal opportunities employer and fully support APSCo's Women in Recruitment initiative. Just in time for International Women's Day, we asked our ambitious, driven and wonderfully talented women here at Understanding Recruitment, who #ChooseToChallenge every day, what advice they would give their younger selves. Nicola Parker, Delivery Manager "Know that there will always be unforeseen hurdles in life, but worrying about what hasn’t happened yet, or might happen in the future is a waste of energy and can stop you from enjoying the now – you cannot control what happens in your future but you can control how you live in the present. Trust that you are always where you are meant to be, whether it feels that way or not at the time – things always work themselves out in the end." Alex Martuccio, Contract Account Manager "If you have a passion or a dream, follow it and make a reality. It will be hard and you will get lots of setbacks and people telling you it’s not possible, but if you really want it, you will do anything to make it happen." Danielle Blake, .NET Researcher "Failure is the first step in success and is just as important as success." Jana Timm, Head of Marketing "You will get to where you want to be but it will take time. Learn as much as you can from the people around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t know what you don’t know." Charlotte Young, Java Recruitment Executive "Consistency and determination to achieve will get you far." Cassie Holdsworth, Management Accountant "Don’t focus too much on the destination but enjoy the journey too. I’ve always been one to focus too much on achieving the bigger things, such as; the job, the wedding, the car, the house etc., and you can easily get distracted from enjoying the small things too." Molly Boca, Hardware Acceleration & ML Recruitment Consultant "Worry less about what others think about you and learn to love yourself through your own eyes not someone else’s. The easiest way to be the best version of yourself is to be free from the judgement of others' perspectives." Emma Matthiesen, Training & Development Manager "Work hard - the better you do, the more options you’ll have." Suzy Bolton, Finance Director "Believe in yourself more and it’s true that the harder you work, the better you do!" Monique Hunt, Accounts Assistants "Have confidence in your ability/self and don’t always assume the worst." Laura Trimmer, Talent Acquisition Consultant "Trust your instincts, everything really does happen for a reason." Rhiannon Mehta, Senior Recruitment Consultant - High Value Fundraising "Trust yourself and don’t listen to other people’s judgement on what you can achieve!" Maggie Mulshine, Hardware Acceleration, Photonics & ML Researcher "Don't focus so hard on what people will think, and instead focus on what you really want to do and what makes you happy." Emily Kitamura, Head of Global Talent Acquisition "You're doing great! Everything will work itself out, just believe in yourself and keep doing you!" Anna Heneghan, Head of Machine Learning & AI UK "Worry less about what other people think about you and think about what you are doing instead. Focus more on yourself. Think about how you can develop and increase your happiness." Emma Wilson, Delivery Consultant "Don't be afraid to try new things! Push yourself out of your comfort zone more often... what's the worst that could happen?!" Lisa Booth, HR Manager "Don’t let the expectations and opinions of others limit your ambitions. Only you know what you can achieve." Mollie Redmond, Marketing Executive "You don't have to have everything figured out and it’s okay if things aren’t quite going to plan. Learn as much as you can and remain positive – things will work out in the end." Curious about #LifeAtUR? We'd love to hear from you! DM Emily Kitamura on LinkedIn, email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01727 228 255 to have chat about the opportunities we have for you.
This is a guest blog by Umbrella Company Parasol. Around three and a half years after the UK voted for Brexit, the clock is ticking towards 11 pm on 31st December 2020, the date upon which the United Kingdom will start a new trading relationship with the European Union. Despite being so close to the end of the transition period, there are still a number of things that Boris Johnson and his Cabinet must iron out. Having missed the original deadline of 15th October, the Prime Minister has very little time left to agree on a trade deal. If a deal isn’t struck, the UK will leave the EU without any trading agreements in place. So it goes without saying that whatever happens in the coming weeks, from 1st January 2021, things will be different, deal or no deal. Established businesses can expect to feel the effects of Brexit, be that positive or negative depending on which side of the fence you sit. The UK’s smallest companies, including freelancers and contractors, have also been told by the government to prepare for change. But what specifically do contractors need to know about Brexit? And what, if anything at all, can we be confident of as the transition period comes to an end? No guarantees over EU working As part of the EU, UK citizens are granted freedom of movement thanks to access to the Single Market. However, things are set to change when the transition period ends on New Year’s Eve and there will be no guarantee that contractors can live, work or retire in EU countries going forward. This is at least something we can be certain of. It means contractors living in the UK but working with clients in the EU may well need a visa or work permit to continue doing so. Given the rules vary country to country it’s worth checking this page on the government website. Similarly, if you’re a contractor living and working in an EU country, you should check this page for the latest guidance on visas, work permits and residency. Immigration changes beckon Most foreign nationals, including those from EU states, will need to apply online for a visa if they want to live and work in the UK next year. A ‘points-based’ immigration system will decide this, with the government aiming to encourage what they perceive to be ‘skilled-workers’ to settle on these shores. A score is awarded to an applicant, who is marked based on a job offer (typically with a wage of at least £25,600), their grasp of the English language and skill level in a desirable occupation. How tailored this system is towards overseas freelancers and contractors remains to be seen. If you’re an EU national already living in the UK, or move here before 31st December 2020, you do not need to go through this process. Instead, you’re required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021. It is worth noting that due to the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens retain the right to live and work in the UK and reciprocally UK nationals retain the right to live and work within Ireland post Brexit. IR35 considerations With changes to the IR35 legislation on the horizon, many contractors working through personal service companies registered in the UK want to know if the changes will apply to contracts held overseas, whether in the EU or further afield. In other words, from 6th April 2021, will contractors be responsible for assessing their IR35 status when working with medium and large businesses based abroad? Or will businesses be tasked with this? It depends, but Brexit won’t have any bearing. If a business is based wholly overseas without a permanent establishment in the UK, such as an office, factory or residence, then IR35 reform isn’t a consideration. This means contractors can carry on determining their IR35 status beyond April 6th 2021. If a client is based abroad but has ties here in the UK, then the reform will apply and the business - assuming it is medium or large - must abide by the new rules. Contractors working with small private sector businesses, whether in the UK or overseas, will maintain responsibility for IR35. While there are still many unknowns for contractors regarding Brexit, we at least know that the UK will certainly leave the EU at the end of this month. And given the post-Brexit landscape is changing all the time, be sure to pay close attention to the government’s Brexit webpage, where you can stay up to date with everything you need to know. If you'd like more information about Brexit or are looking for your next contracting role check out our contract jobs & connect with our Head of Contracts Jack Cascarino on LinkedIn.