What flexibility will be lost for PSCs with IR35s new changes?

How much is going to change for Personal Service Companies during IR35s shift in liability? With not just the concern for a lack of control over the final determination, there is unease over what will happen to the flexibility of contracts. If deemed inside IR35 then the ability to work under your own terms, setting your own fees and hours to work, as well as being able to take on multiple contracts are not a part of the contract.  

With many benefits coming from working as a limited company outside IR35 it can be seen as an attractive position, but many of these benefits help both the contractor and client. Although the shift in who determines the status will highlight those illegitimately working outside IR35, it means it could also be putting those legitimate cases at risk. With a lack of understanding or preparation, many clients and agencies are looking to blanket ban all outside IR35 work, making it much harder for outside IR35 contracts to be found. By offering outside IR35 contracts to PSCs, we are constantly trying to match up the right work with the best talent, maintaining fairness with combining legitimate outside IR35 workers with appropriate contracts. 

When losing an outside IR35 status there are many benefits no longer available to the contractor, in addition to potentially losing 20-30% of their income.  

  • Working their own hours 
  • Taking on multiple contracts 
  • Expenses no longer covered 
  • No substitute 

With travel expenses not covered for inside IR35 contracts, there is little incentive for limited companies to work on long distance roles, restricting this flexible workforce and making it equally hard for clients to find the best talent. Being able to utilise these can help provide better skills and results to projects and attract further work in the future, benefiting both client and contractor. Causing these to be restricted has meant many contractors are prepared to find alternative roles or discontinue being a contractor altogether. In a survey conducted by Contractor Calculator of more than 12,000 contractors, 23% said they intend to quit contracting due to IR35 leading to a potentially far smaller pool of talent to choose from for clients.  

What can you do?  

Be a part of the process and make your own assessment to bring a more robust decision to your employment status and opening up the opportunity to challenge the outcome if required. As a part of this, going over any current contracts to make sure they reflect the actions you are doing in the role off paper. Just having it written in the contract may not be enough to show your status and by performing the role as described in your contract then the guidelines within which you are working are made clear. 

Status determination statements are legally required to be given to contractors under limited companies as they give the chance to challenge determinations made by the client or agency. Despite this, only 38% of respondents in a survey say they have been provided with a Status Determination Statement. While the clients, fee payers, and contractors can all make an assessment, SDS’ provide a final chance for you to get appropriate IR35 placement as clients are required to meet the 45-day challenge process. Having these three parties individually assess your role can lead to a more robust determination, alongside giving you some control within the process.  

With the concern of clients being unprepared, it is vital for YOU to have as much understanding as possible so as to be able to seek the right work for you; whether inside or outside of IR35. The initial delay for when it will come into effect has given more time, but with few companies taking advantage of that it is valuable for all involved to take action. Speak to one of our experts to gain guidance in getting a status determination reflective of your work.  

Survey reference: 


PSCs concerns: loss of 30% earnings with IR35 changes

Getting IR35 wrong can be costly. Both contractors and fee payers are at risk of losing out without paying careful attention to IR35 assessments. With contractors at risk of losing between 20-30% of their income if their status changes it is no wonder some may be nervous about who makes the status determination. 

Making it the responsibility of the client to now make an assessment on whether a Personal Service Company is deemed inside or outside of IR35 has the potential to cause these contractors to feel they have lost control of their personal earnings. This is not entirely true. There are some clear actions you can take to be involved in the process, alongside having the opportunity to challenge the final decision. This shift in liability will help to discover disguised employees, and classify them with the correct determination.  

The majority of contractors had hoped the initial delay in the changes to IR35 could help ease their concern over their clients understanding and ability to correctly assess their IR35 status. Giving them more time to get to grips with the legislation and view each PSC within the extended timeframe. However, 63% of contractors surveyed would rate their current client’s knowledge on IR35 negatively. Being a part of the process can make it easier for everyone involved. 

What you should be doing now 

Educating yourself on the IR35 changes is the first key step in order to understand what to look for in new roles and how you can challenge a status determination that you disagree with. Communication is always a vital part of any process, so if you’re in a contract that will continue beyond April 2021 then discussions with your hiring manager and agency can help you establish what actions have been taken to prepare.  

While a vast majority of the responsibility now lies with fee payer, there are actions you can take to be involved in the process in order to get a fair assessment. You can evaluate whether these three main points that determine IR35 are within your contract as well as the actions you take within the role. Ensuring that the performance in the role is reflective of the contract will reinforce your status and allow you to work in the clear definition of either outside or inside IR35. 

  • Substitution  

Being able to send a substitute to complete the work on your behalf. 

  • Direction 

Being directed on how to complete the work by the client, using instructions, guidance, and advice. 

  • Control 

Someone is dictating what work you do and how, including the power to move you to different tasks. 

There also should not be a mutuality of agreement, meaning that both stating within the contract and being carried out in the position, the client has no obligation to offer you more work as well as an absence of obligation for you to take it can indicate the contract is more likely outside IR35.  

Working with a proactive agency that advises their clients on how they can assist your process of determining an appropriate status. At Highfield, we have many years of knowledge regarding IR35 and have spent time understanding the changes, so contact us via IR35@highfieldps.co.uk or phone a consultant on 01489 774010.  

Anyone within the process can make an assessment such as the client, contractor, or the fee payer (like a recruitment agency). Statement determinations from all three will make for a far more robust outcome, creating consistency and certainty through multiple matching decisions and making it even more important to have clear understanding on these changes from all involved. Clients are required to provide a Status Determination Statement (SDS) which is used to: 

  • Declare a contractor’s deemed employment status following an IR35 assessment 
  • Provide the reasoning behind the conclusion. 

This SDS allows you to see how the determination was reached in a fully detailed way, giving you the opportunity to challenge a decision if there are specific factors that can be disagreed with. Alongside this, it helps to prevent companies from enforcing blanket determinations due to requiring justifications for individual workers through the SDS.  

So, take action in your own earnings and utilise the options and people available to get your contract recognised with an appropriate status determination. Speak to our experts and avoid risking losing 30% of your take home pay. 

Make IR35 work for you; how to retain and attract your best talent

IR35 changes in April 2021. Are you concerned about contractors going elsewhere? Some of the best talent will be looking for correct assessments and processes, which they will now be relying on their clients to provide. IR35 doesn’t have to be daunting but instead could be beneficial to your company, bringing and retaining the best skills to keep projects running smoothly all with the flexibility that is provided by contractors. 

Understanding IR35 and the new changes is your best starting point. We have plenty of experts so feel free to ask us about any concerns you have at IR35@highfieldps.co.uk or view our IR35 Hub to understand a little more. There is one main point you need to be aware of with this change and that is where the responsibility and therefore some of the risk will now lie. As of April 2021, it will be down to the fee payer to provide an IR35 assessment to all contractors working for the company, which in turn brings the risk with it.  

It will NO LONGER solely be the responsibility of the contractor. It is yours. 

With businesses already contending with the various challenges that the pandemic has presented it is not surprising that this may feel a little overwhelming, however, it is a crucial process to get right. In a survey of companies with 30-200 staff, 73% of them have classified themselves as having little or no process/system for the new IR35 changes. 

There are many benefits to hiring contractors.  

  • Cost savings 
  • Specialist skills 
  • Flexibility 
  • Ease of separation 
  • Temporary cover 
  • Start at short notice 
  • Ease workload for permanent staff members 

Particularly with the current climate, having flexibility and an ease of separation allows you to not feel the need to take on a permanent member of staff but are still able to get projects completed, without overloading current staff members and while utilising specialist skills.  

Temporary workforce makes up 22% of the UKs overall labour market, highlighting the importance of contractors as they support the economy and provide great benefits for companies in completing projects quickly and effectively.  

Bearing this in mind, it would be desirable to retain those specialised skills and become attractive to future talents looking to be recognised as appropriate outside IR35 contractors. The most ideal way to demonstrate this is through case-by-case analysis of each contractor working for your company, giving the opportunity for each person to be defined for their individual work. Demonstrating a professional in-depth understanding of the legislation shows the value to which you hold contractors and deeming them a great asset.  

This fair and informed process can be time consuming or confusing, however, there are plenty of experts that have handled IR35 for many years who are able to help clients and contractors alike. We have invested time and energy into understanding the best ways to make IR35 work for everyone involved. Specialists with clear resources and training are on hand with guidance to keep legitimate contractors working outside IR35 with ease and help take risk away from clients. Involving experts as well as the contractors themselves throughout the process can make it faster and clearer, alongside providing the opportunity for contractors to be involved in their own outcome.  

To summarise: ways of retaining the best talent can be 

  • Having the in-depth understanding of IR35 (check out our IR35 Hub
  • Case-by-case assessments (avoiding blanket decisions) 
  • Open opportunities for experts and contractors to be involved in the process 

This way of making IR35 work for you creates an efficient and smooth process with individual assessments showing care and attention as you make the company attractive to contractors, leading to the potential abundance of the best skills and talent to choose from.  

IR35 will change in April, are you ready?

IR35 may seem new to you, but it isn’t. Introduced in March 1999 and becoming law in 2000, this latest amendment has caught many businesses off guard due to previously being the sole responsibility of the contractor. Yet it is crucial to get right. Changes on it are coming into effect from April 2021, bringing risk to businesses and requiring a clear understanding on how it can affect you and the contractors you hire.  

There is still time. 

It is very unlikely that these changes will be delayed again as they were last year so preparations and actions taken now will at least create peace of mind come April, and allow for contracts to continue smoothly in the coming months. 

So, what’s changing? 

Liability. While IR35 is not a new rule, these changes shift where the responsibility is and therefore where the risk lies as it becomes the role of the client to correctly identify contractors falling either inside or outside of IR35. 

Reviewing each contract to ensure they all appropriately match the work being done can seem daunting and time consuming so understandably many companies would think to look at a blanket assessment 

What could happen if I have all contractors under a blanket assessment? 

  • Contractors who should not be deemed inside IR35 will look for alternative roles 
  • They may not feel treated fairly without individual assessment potentially leaving your company with a poor reputation 
  • Future talent and skills will be unlikely to seek your company at the risk of a loss of income and unfair treatment 

Avoiding all this can be achieved with a case-by-case assessment that is beneficial for both you and your contractors so contact us today to see what we can do to solve this and mitigate the time this process takes for you. 

90% of contractors said that they were willing and happy to be involved in the process with their client, helping them to change working practices models in order to get a legitimate outside IR35 decision. If that decision incorrectly categorises a contractor then over two thirds have said they would look for another role. That combined with clients having a lack of collaboration, understanding, and education on IR35 will only make the numbers rise and create an environment where clients can no longer entice the best skills and talent in the future.  

While IR35 is still trying to get the best for contractors, there may be several who discover their status changes, but it is for this reason that the change in legislation is shifting the responsibility for IR35 assessments. Illegitimate outside IR35 contractors may be losing income they were not entitled to in the first place in the bid to discover ‘disguised employees’ as a part of this anti-avoidance tax legislation. Categorising contractors appropriately can pave way for those rightfully looking for outside IR35 work and can generate a more balanced environment. 

What is there to help me? 

The HMRC have provided an online tool called CEST that helps calculate what contractors should be deemed as within your company, however, there are major concerns over the accuracy of an algorithm based tool, especially when dealing with someone’s income. Contractors look at losing around 20-30% of their take home pay and in many cases can lose much more if they are deemed inside IR35 instead of correctly outside, making them unable to pay their bills and cover costs. 

On the other hand, personal and individual assessments on a case-by-case basis allows for both parties to be confident in the fact they are getting the best out of the partnerships and are secure in their positions with HMRC. Now this sounds like it’ll require a lot of your time, but we’re helping clients get the most out of it and taking some stress away from the process with our in-depth knowledge on it as we’ve already taken the time to understand it.  

Arrange some time with our IR35 experts 

Email: IR35@highfieldps.co.uk or arrange a call using the form below. Ask us anything you want; from understanding IR35, through to exploring solutions to get your business ready. 

How you can have a successful career in recruitment

Working in recruitment can be daunting. It can be a rollercoaster ride, but it is one that you will want to go and ride again and again. At the age of seven when our parents, teachers or peers asked us what we want to be when we are older, I am sure none of us was shouting “a recruitment consultant”. However, it is a role that can help you build a foundation and a solid career and anyone can take the plunge if they feel that they have what it takes.

There are a few qualities which can help you become a successful recruitment consultant, I have pinpointed a couple. If you feel like any of these reflect you, then why not take the plunge into the world of recruitment.

A confident Communicator

Being a confident communicator is important when working in recruitment because you want to build the most important brand, YOU! Dealing with clients and candidates on a daily basis will be a key part of your role, delivering a great service and building relationships is crucial, so ensuring you can deliver information confidently and in a professional manner will help with your achievements.

Show Tenacity and Be Positive

Getting a no is all part of the game. However, the strength of picking yourself up and moving onto the next is vital. It can be hard to stay positive, however, positivity and determination is a skill that will keep you ahead of the game, a knockback should only encourage your willingness to learn and keep going.

Willingness to Progress

Career Progression in recruitment is an area that attracts most people to the industry. It can be a fast ladder to climb if you have the drive to achieve it. A structured career progression is one thing that most people will be looking for in a career and recruitment can really offer this. You can start as a Graduate/Trainee Recruitment Consultant and with hard work you can climb the ladder consistently throughout your early years in recruitment.

Be persistent and persuasive in a Professional Manner

There is nothing wrong with being persistent and persuasive, however, in the recruitment industry, it can be best to make sure you are doing this in a professional manner. Don’t use the pushy sales person approach, know when to push back when a client says no or if they are ignoring you (it does happen). You are always leaving an impression when you communicate with clients and you don’t want to build your brand negatively. Like our own values at Highfield, always show professionalism and integrity.

Are you looking for a career in recruitment and possess any of the above attributes? Then we want to hear from you! At Highfield Professional Solutions, we pride ourselves on our professionalism, integrity and expertise and we are always on the lookout for talented individuals to join us!

Contact our Talent Acquisition Specialist, Kay Fadden on 01489 774 010 or email kay.fadden@highfield.searchstack.co.uk for more information.


What to expect from the recruitment industry in 2018

The recruitment industry in 2018 is set for new challenges, and many changes, to keep up with the demanding growth of the world’s technology and economy. It is rumoured that we are going to see a transformation in how recruitment agencies find candidates like yourself, and see further growth of the industry.

So, what changes can we expect to see, and will you agree with them? We’ve outlined the key ones below…

Data handling

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) is on the lips of most recruiters at the moment. The current EU Regulations are being increased significantly, and the new versions will come into effect in May 2018. This will mean you have more control over what kind of correspondence you receive from a recruiter (as well as those pesky online shopping emails), and can ascertain just how and why they are storing your data. The likelihood is, you will receive a lot of emails from any newsletters you’ve signed up to in the coming months, just to check you’re still happy to receive them. If you’re signed up with Highfield, keep an eye in your inbox to confirm your subscriptions.

Social media

Social Media is currently taking over the world; there are 1.871 billion active users on Facebook daily. This is by far the most active social media channel, with Instagram coming in second with 600 million users per day and Twitter third with 317 million users per day.

Long story short, we’re going to see a huge shift in the use of social media for recruiting. Just like Amazon are challenging Google, Facebook is starting to challenge LinkedIn. Facebook are currently trialling their job boards in North America and Canada, which enables users to search and apply for jobs directly from their app, making it easier and quicker to apply for jobs. The new feature will collate a pre-populated page with your name, education, and job history, which it takes from your current profile. You can edit this, and you are also able to type a cover letter for up to 1000 characters. Did you know you can apply for any job on www.highfieldps.co.uk through our ‘apply with Facebook’ button?


Advertising and marketing will take more of a turn towards social media, which is an additional way we can now post job adverts online, on top of the job boards and LinkedIn. As the number of active users on social media platforms increase, recruiters will start to take full advantage of each and every social media channel. Even Instagram and Snapchat are being used by some companies for internal recruitment recently, so watch this space! (Did you know Highfield are on Instagram? See what we get up to and give us a follow @highfieldrec )

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is everywhere now. It is a not a new concept, but it is a concept that is slowly growing in the way we use it. According to the experts, AI will help to cut back on potential lengthy and time-consuming recruitment processes. The use of online chat is already offering new ways in communicating with consumers, so AI will offer a smarter, more efficient way of recruiting that can be used alongside consultants in a unified, structured approach.


How do you feel about the changes set to take wave in 2018 in the recruitment indsutry? Would you ever apply for a role on Facebook? What would make the recruitment process easier for you? Let us know, tweet us at @HighfieldREC!

Solent Business Awards

The Solent Business Awards took place at the Hilton Ageas last night, and as previously announced , Highfield were finalists for two categories – Best Company to Work for and Management Team of the Year.

Although we didn’t win either award, we did gain the Highly Commended position which is a credit to the whole of Highfield. We are so proud to even be shortlisted for such well-known awards, and the categories we were recognised for sums up Highfield perfectly.

We are extremely proud of our management team, and the support and training they give to the new generation of Recruitment Consultants. With this in mind, in the next few years, this new generation will no doubt forge an integral part of the management team as we grow, and they grow their careers alongside us.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists of the awards; it was a great evening to celebrate the best in business on the South Coast.




Highfield Professional Solutions announced as finalists for 2017 NORAs

Our new website launched just under 12 months ago. We are incredibly proud of the fact that the whole site was designed internally, with the input of our expert consultants who know exactly what their clients and candidates require from an agency’s website.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have been revealed as finalists for the 2017 NORAs (National Online Recruitment Awards), in the category of Best Large Recruitment Agency!

Liam Thomas, Director of Highfield, commented,

“One of the most unique points of our website is that it was created with a huge amount of input from our team in-house, which we are so proud of. The fact we have been recognised in the NORAs this year is testament to the hard work and passion from everyone at Highfield, and we are incredibly excited to be attending the awards in November.”

Highfield’s website continues to be managed internally, and is updated daily with new role releases and market relevant content.

We look forward to attending the event in Covent Garden on 15th November!

What do the new generation of employees look for in a company?

It’s very true when they say millennials have completely different expectations and ideas when it comes to their career, compared to the attitudes of those who have now retired. Many companies shy away from change, and stick to the dangerous phrase ‘but this is the way we’ve always done it’.

Highfield is proud to be a working environment which listens to its employees and meets all their expectations, making a great atmosphere to work in (and it’s not just us that says so, we’ve been shortlisted for ‘Best Company to Work For‘!)

So what do millennials look for when choosing their workplace?

Training and progression

They want to learn more, they want promotion criteria and they want to know that if they’re still working for you in 20 years that they won’t be stuck in the same job or department they first signed up for. Sure, short term wins are great, but millennials want something long term – they’re loyal and driven, and they need a company who reciprocates and invests in their development.

Company culture

Whether it’s a bacon sandwich the morning after the Christmas party, dogs in the office or away days, company culture is paramount to millennials enjoying where they work. Employee satisfaction creates an environment where you’ll attract, and retain, the best talent.


The work-life balance is something that is talked about in every business these days, but many companies don’t act upon the clear need, and want, for more flexibility. Millennials work hard, and bring a heap of new ideas to businesses, so they want rewarding in other ways than just their monthly pay packet. 4pm finishes on a Friday, or incentives and targets to hit in order to have an earlier finish at the end of the week, will motivate the team and get everyone working to the best of their ability. They work hard all week and get an extra hour at home with their loved ones – it’s a win-win for all!

A different style of leadership

The attitude of the management will either motivate or demotivate young professionals. To be listened to, appreciated and rewarded is key for millennials, so gone are the days of pointless meetings at the same time every week. Engaging meetings with a purpose over a coffee in the local café will create more motivation, and a more positive response in return.

Growth opportunities

Cash isn’t the be all and end all for millennials. Sure, they want to earn good money and create a sturdy future for themselves, but they want to have a vision for where they’ll be in 10 years. Help them to visualise their career in the company and all the exciting opportunities and possibilities they could be faced with. Top talent is more likely to stay loyal if they know they have a world of opportunities ahead of them in the company they are already loving working for.


If you’re nodding your head in agreement with all of the above, then Highfield are hiring! We have multiple graduate positions available; Contact Lauren for more information – lauren.davison@highfield.searchstack.co.uk

How could your current company maintain their staff? What’s the most important thing you look for when choosing the company you work for? Tweet us and let us know!

5 European Holiday destinations if you love architecture

Summer is in full swing, and if you are yet to have had a holiday then it’s time to get one booked. Scientific studies believe that taking a proper holiday with no work distractions can actually increase work productivity.

“Change your environment, change your mind-set”, so with that in mind here are 5 top European destinations for architects and architecture lovers.

  1. Barcelona

It’s no surprise that Barcelona is first on the list. This city has a well-balanced mix of historic architecture that can be found within the old city; and a lot of modern architecture that was developed after the city’s expansions. And for all you architecture fanatics the Gaudi buildings are not to be missed!

Architecture Barcelona


  1. Prague

Known as the “golden city of spires”, Prague’s architecture is truly spellbinding.

Fans of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and art nouveau will not be disappointed – Prague hosts a marvel of styles all side by side. The city really is a pleasure for historians, tourists and architecture enthusiasts.

Architecture Prague

The city is truly a pleasure for historians, tourists, and especially architecture enthusiasts.


  1. Amsterdam

You really could spend a whole weekend wandering around the streets of Amsterdam in awe of the architecture. From windmills, canals and drawbridges to the Amsterdam School and cutting edge modern design, you will be kept busy exploring Amsterdam’s most memorable structures.

Amsterdam Architecture

  1. Athens

Athens is scattered with iconic monuments and significant architecture ranging from past to present. The mix of ancient history and modern edginess is enough to make anyone fall in love. Be sure to check out the busy nightlife, open air theatres and the buzzing flea markets.

Athens Architecture

  1. Vienna

Austria’s cities are famous for their stunning architecture, and Vienna is no different. Walking through the city you will see a range of different styles from classicist to modern, however, centre stage is taken by the city’s stunning Art Nouveau.

Vienna Architecture

Have we missed anywhere off the list? Tweet us @highfieldrec and let us know any cities you’ve fallen in love with!