A recent study by The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (ipse) estimated that the number of contractors in the UK now stands at around 1.4 million – a 14% growth in just over ten years. Even with the disruption caused by IR35 reform, the benefits of freelancing include flexibility to work in a way which suits your circumstances, enabling you to diversify your skills and broaden your experiences, the opportunity to experience diverse working life, a great way to network and it can also be much better paid than a permanent job (although this has to be weighed against the fact you won’t receive sick or holiday pay.)

If the idea of contracting appeals to you, there are lots of opportunities available to you. We’ve pulled together a list of some of the fastest-growing contractor sectors – here are the ones to watch:

Accounting and Finance

Efficient and effective finances are the cornerstone of any successful business, so candidates who understand bookkeeping, business expenses, payroll and taxes are key people in any firm. You could work independently with a range of clients or in-house with just one.

  • Typical contractor accounting job titles are Accountant, Auditor, Bookkeeper, Business Analyst, Controller, or Finance Manager.
  • Average salaries tend to vary on position and contract type. Still, the average salary for a contractor accountant is £42500, the average salary for a contractor bookkeeper is £27000, and for a contractor, the finance manager is £38,483.


Administration workers are also key to successful businesses as they keep everything on track – however, this work does not need to be completed on-site. The virtual freelance sector is growing massively, especially for those offering services normally completed by a PA or secretary. Many firms prefer to outsource this work to freelancers to save on the overhead costs of having them in-house.

  • Typical contractor administration job titles in this sector include Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Office Coordinator, Office Manager or Virtual Assistant.
  • Average salaries vary by position and contract type, but Virtual Assistants can earn an average of £19,500 a year, and an Executive Administrative Assistant could earn £29,00 a year on average.

Computer and IT

This is a broad industry, so the range of positions you may come across includes everything from IT repair and security to website maintenance.  However, the beauty of this sector is that it serves all others, so every business depends on it. Every business relies on computers to function nowadays, so your skills meet a universal need.

  • Typical contractor computing and IT job titles include Computer Analyst, IT Consultant, IT Service Technician or Technical Architect.
  • As with other sectors, the average salaries will vary on position and contract type, but you could be looking at around £57,500 for an IT security manager job or £27,000 for a Technical Support Assistant.

Software Development

Businesses’ dependence on computers also means that we depend on software which in turn means we have a growing need for software development experts. If you have the skills needed to design, test and debug software, then you should be able to find a great contracting gig in this area.

  • Typical contractor software development job titles include Apps Developer, DevOps Developer, Mobile Developer, Software Developer and Software Engineer.
  • Again, average salaries will depend on contract type and position, but average salaries for a Software Developer can be around £47,500 and for DevOps could be as much as £65,000

Here at Agile Recruit, we have experience in both permanent and contract jobs throughout the computer, IT and software sectors – so if you are looking for a contract role or a contractor to fill a skills gap in your firm, please get in touch. You can call us on 0161 416 6633 (Manchester) or 0203 800 1222 (Milton Keynes) or email us at info@agilerecruit.com if you prefer.

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