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Contractor salaries in South East reach three times national average

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Pay for contractors in the South East and other big financial centres of the UK is significantly higher than the UK average.

Contractors association the Professional Representation Network (PRN) published research today that showed the top 100,000 contractors in the country earn an average of £80,000 per year. 

The study looked at contractor salaries across 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK. There are two areas where the average salary is over £100,000 per year: Kensington (£125,000) and Cities of London and Westminster (£119,000). 

Out of the top 30 areas with the highest average contractor salaries, 26 were in London or the South East. Edinburgh South was the only area outside of England in the top 10, with an average salary of £57,000. Manchester and its surrounding area also had very high contractor earnings, with Altrincham and Sale West’s ranked 18th with an average salary of £38,800. 

PRN director Kristian Gourlay said the figures reflected a shift in attitudes in the UK job market: "Most people recognise that the days of a job for life are over, so their perceptions of the risk and reward balance of being a self-employed contractor versus permanent employment are shifting.”

The concentration of contractors in high skilled areas such as engineering, IT and financial services contributes to the higher salaries, according to Gourlay. “Increasingly, what we are seeing is that many of the best opportunities as well as the highest pay are going to contractors," he said. "More and more employers are choosing to engage workers with the expertise they need on a contract basis."