An open letter to the UK recruitment industry (in light of the upcoming IR35 private sector rollout)

I wish the recruitment industry would use the private sector IR35 rollout as an opportunity to properly move away from just using CVs to interact with both clients and contractors in their talent sourcing work. I have an optimised CV designed to perform well in the ATS systems (it cost £500 to have this authored would you believe), however it deliberately presents a very narrow view of myself, and it certainly does not include any details about my consultancy services or me personally. That’s because the recruitment process generally frowns on this and by including it, my chance of an interview simply reduces.

However, in respect to the broad knowledge I have acquired across 20 years of contracting and varied on-going training, when I bid for work directly I use my company website, www.frankray.net and my portfolio of BA work contained on it rather than a CV. This leaves no doubt to a prospective client that I only ever work “outside IR35”. I don’t do this for tax reasons – rather that a key benefit I bring to clients is the offering of a genuinely independent and outsiders perspective to all my work, and the freedom to speak honestly about problems I may come across. And that is what makes me self-employed.

So how as a recruitment industry then, can you better support efforts like mine and the same from many more of my colleagues who run limited companies for reasons other than tax planning???  A bad solution to all this is more IR35 “friendly” terms in my contract with a continued underlying assumption I want to be part and parcel of another shareholder’s organisation.

I believe it’s now in everyone’s interest, client / recruiter / applicant, to have a more open and transparent recruitment process that allows the applicant’s reasons for being in the market place to better come through. It would help protect everyone in the recruitment chain especially when engaging individuals who are genuinely self-employed. Lets avoid the threat of back taxes in a smart and proper way.


Frank Ray

Ask any project manager about the key to their success, and they will say that delivering a project is often more like a "dark art" or by chance, than a predictable science.

They may also say that a project going 'off the rails' was one of the most stressful things they have professionally experienced. And unfortunately, it’s all too common.

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