Google+ - Get Involved!

Savvy freelancers and contractors should get involved in Google+ and seize the opportunity to market your products and your services in new and creative ways. You have a chance to carve out a niche before competition gets on board and look for avenues of opportunity to move in with a sales pitch. A presence on Google+ may well land you future IT contract jobs!

The more you engage with Google+, the more you will get out of it. No one can doubt the impact that social media has had upon business in the twenty first century and Google+ won’t be one to buck the trend. Adapting to a new platform of communication can be daunting at times, but there are a few steps you can take to make the adjustment a bit easier.

Google+ is a great way for IT contractors to meet others from their sector, and a great opportunity for networking. You can search for people by name, company, interest, location or topic - a handy tool for the freelancer. Circles plays up the idea that the information you share is not suitable for everyone, and offers you the opportunity to share different things with different people; create online circles to mirror your real life social groups, no matter how niche.  Google+ allows you to create targeted circles, so you can keep tabs on the issues that matter most to you and your business.

What’s great about circles is that it isn’t public. Adding someone to a circle isn’t like adding them as a friend on Facebook; instead, it personalizes the stream of information you receive so it fits your interests. Once you have ‘circled’ everyone you know to a circle, start adding people you don’t to widen your network.

Google+ is all about sharing what matters with the people who will appreciate it most. When you deem something to be of interest, you can give it a +1, which offers a signal to the creator that their post was of value. The +1 tool is a great way to meet people who share similar interests to yourself or work within the same field, from which you may just learn something from.

At the moment, Google+ is mainly inhabited by those who work in IT, technology and media so IT consultants and contractors are advised to get involved! The greater your presence on Google+, the easier it is for others to discover you and your services, and more interaction. This can only be a good thing for business! 


IT Contractors are Going Green!

Reports from Ovum have recently shown that over 70% of organisations have adopted a ‘greener’ approach concerning IT development. The first quarter of 2010 saw approximately 68% of CIOs using green IT, showing a steady growth in the amount of companies waking up to eco-friendly technology and 2012 is to follow suite with an estimation of a further 6% of companies getting involved.

Although a greener way of living has often been said to be a pricey step towards a healthier business environment, the rise in businesses upgrading to this trend is actually an effort to save money. Government cuts to IT budgets all over the UK means that green IT has been implemented to inevitably save expenses. 

Author of Ovum’s report Rhonda Asierto stated: “It is now viewed as a core technology that that delivers business value by cutting costs and increasing efficiency. We believe this change has occurred because of constrained IT budgets and a sluggish global economy in the wake of the recession, which forced organisations to scrutinise spending on all types of IT. Many CIOs have for the first time had to calculate a financial return on investment of green IT.”

With this in mind, IT contract jobs concerned in environmentally friendly procedures may become more apparent in the near future. Categories of green IT that will be in particular focus shall be data centre power, cooling technologies, desktop virtualisation, paper use management and power management tools for Pcs.

Data centre virtualisation is proving to be the most popular among CIOs, with 52% of those surveyed stating that they used Data centre virtualisation is their companies, a trend that IT contractors should become familiar with. Green IT in its entirety is not to be ignored with the survey showing clear indications that eco-friendly technology will experience growth well into 2012.



Bankruptcies in Scotland reach an all-time high!

The news of increased bankruptcies in Scotland may be of interest to those working in or looking for finance contract jobs - Scotland has certainly had better days. Reports have shown the biggest quarterly rise in the number of people going bust in Scotland since the recession began in 2008. According to the Accountant in Bankruptcies, personal insolvencies reached 5,319 between April and June, up from 4,262 in the previous three months and experts have suggested that this is only the start of a trend - Scotland is yet to feel the full force of the proposed spending cuts and public sector job cuts. It seems likely that the number of Scots becoming bankrupt will continue to increase; clearly, Scotland is still feeling the impact of the recession.

Figures show a 25% increase from the previous quarter and a 1% drop from this time last year. Fergus Ewing, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism is “encouraged that there has been a reduction on levels when compared to this time last year”. He goes on to explain the increase in individual bankruptcies as a direct result of the success of the Certificate for Sequestration that was introduced in November last year. This was introduced through the Home Owner and Debtor Protection Act to help those in need of debt relief who would not have qualified beforehand.

Iain Fraser, Scottish spokesman for R3, the insolvency professionals’ trade body reiterated the likelihood that insolvency numbers will continue to rise and noted the number of people seeking help through the Debt Payment Programmes awarded by the Debt Arrangement Scheme. 643 people joined the schemes in the first three months of 2011 as a way of avoiding bankruptcy, up 478 (35%) from the previous quarter and up 494 from this time last year. That is a 35% increase from the previous quarter – clearly debt management through this scheme has become a viable option to more Scots than ever!

The number of Scots going bust peaked in the first quarter 2009-2010 at 6,294. Until now, this figure has steadily dropped over recent years and contracting may well become a saviour to those who are currently struggling with their finances and there may be an increase in the number of freelancers looking for finance contract jobs and other UK contract jobs.

Sources claim that it is the better-off are being hit hardest. The recent changes to mortgage payment regulation have undoubtedly delayed the bankruptcies but it is now clear that they have simply been treading water. They have worked to maintain their debts but done little to reduce them, and the recent rise in energy bills and food has pushed many over the edge. Those currently working in or looking for finance contract jobs or other UK contract jobs should keep an eye on further developments – it has the potential to spark a lot of change within the freelancing and contracting industry!


Increased demand for Oil means more work for Freelancers and Contractors!

2012 will see an increase in the global demand for oil and gas, predicts the International Energy Agency (IEA), great news from contractors looking for work in the oil and gas industry.

The demand for oil is predicted a daily increase of 1.47 million barrels a day, up from the average 1.2 million barrels at present. The rise will come on account of emerging economies making use of crude oil. The price of US light crude oil has dropped by fourteen cents to $97.29 on Wednesday 13th July, whilst the price of Brent has fallen to $117.67. The decrease has occurred over fears for the direction of the European debt crisis spreading to Italy and Spain, which in turn would reduce European crude consumption.

The increased demand comes as good news for freelancers as oil and gas producers will need to expand their businesses to meet the demand. Freelancers and contractors working within the oil and gas industry are likely to have varied experience and a wider knowledge than their peers working in permanent positions, making them attractive candidates for the new positions that will become available. What’s more is that freelancers and contractors offer the employer added flexibility, the key to growth and stability in an industry that is constantly dealing with unpredicted demands. The increased demand for oil is a definite plus for contractors, freelancers and employers alike who have every reason to make use of skilled freelancers to meet their short term staffing needs. 

Contract Work – What is it?

When most of us think of a working week, we envisage entering the 9 to 5, 40 hour rat race in the same office or with the same company, seeing the same faces at the same times for the rest of our working lives until we retire into whatever money we have left to fund the twilight years of our lives, also known as retirement. Becoming a contract worker eliminates this stereotype indefinitely. Contract workers enjoy benefits such as

-          A freedom and flexibility unavailable in other workplaces

-          Experience to bolster and improve a personal profile and/or CV

-          The opportunity to build an extensive professional and personal network

-          And perhaps the best point, higher earnings potential!

On average, employees working on a contract basis earn a third more than those with permanent deals for the same job, and this blog aims to help you to understand how and why contract work could be the best career move for you.

Getting a contract job is arguably more straightforward than finding a permanent position, as employers have increasingly turned to contractors throughout recent years to fill vacancies is numerous sectors, including:

-          Information Technology

-          Sales and Marketing

-          Human Resources and Customer Services

-          Banking and Finance

-          Telecommunications

-          Journalism

-          Energy Professionals

-          And many more!

As a contractor, you have the freedom to negotiate all the terms of your contract in terms of the work that you are signing up to do and the rules and regulations on how you are going to do it and even where you want to get it done. Whether you want to take on short term contracts of a few weeks or months or longer term deals, you are in complete control. You can even work from home, or do the total opposite and take on a position abroad!

Becoming a contractor gives you all the tools to govern your life and work as independently as you wish, offering you the quality of life you deserve.

Space- the contractor’s final frontier


Since 1997, the UK space market has grown by an average of 9% annually and in 2007 created over 19,000 jobs over varied sectors.

Today, the UK space industry stands at an estimated £7.5 billion and will continue to expand thanks to £10 million of government funding to be put towards a national space technology programme in the UK, which is currently in development.  

Although the space sector is a growing industry within the UK, up until now it has been relatively insignificant. Growing support in space technology development from the coalition government means that it will now have the potential to become a major contributor in economic growth. 

The functionality of space projects are partly dependent upon contractors which has been proven   in the past. If the programme is to follow in the footsteps of the Goddard Space Flight centre in Washington DC then over 10,000 contractors, from engineers to scientists, are estimated to get involved with space technology in the UK. The leaders of Space technology NASA had 70,000 contractors working on specialist projects by 1964 which has rapidly risen to over 350,000 today. There is clearly an opportunity for the UK to benefit from developments in space technology and furthermore, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ take-over of all major space projects in the UK will enable businesses easier access to opportunities within space exploration .  The take-over will also enable contractors form varied sectors to get involved, in particular those involved with IT and engineering.

Freelance writers...the low down

Both freelance and contract writers may in this day and age be considered a spent force by many, though contrary to popular misconceptions they remain an integral piece of the popular media and sales markets. With some determination, the necessary skills and knowing where to look, a writer can create the opportunity to build a career path into full time employment or even make more money than many full time professionals.

With social networking quickly becoming an endlessly popular tool for business to customer – and even business to business – interfacing in our modern economic climate, websites and applications such as Twitter and Facebook can be integral tools in a writer’s armoury. Their networks easily stretch into the hundreds of millions, making the possibility of increasing a company’s profitability or a user’s personal profile and popularity, extremely accessible wherever said user is efficient in successfully manipulating the devices.

With 1.4 million freelancers and contract writers currently in the UK, competition is as fierce as in any other media profession. A successful freelancer will have all of the abilities of a quality writer, but also need to have the initiative to seek out opportunities where they may be useful to an organisation or individual offering the financial backing and resources needed to fully achieve their potential whilst creating the highest quality product possible.

These skills are not inherited but learnt, and can be transferred into the world of sales and marketing without any considerable difficulty. Of course there are certain guidelines and expectations that must be adhered to when writing in a second person narrative as a method of persuasion in selling a product to the public, but where flair meets determination the marketing sector will flourish in enticing a reader, gently leading them from general spectatorship to intersected investors/buyers.