Contracting in London

As one of the world’s most vibrant and visited capital cities, London needs little in the way of introduction. At the last count, in February of 2010, more than 3.7m people were working in the capital – and if you like city living, it’s clear to see the appeal. With its mix of shopping, leisure activities, culture, open spaces and of course job opportunities, some would say there’s nowhere else like it on earth. And they would be right!

London remains the UK's largest contractor hub with more contractors and contractor vacancies than any other UK city.

Major companies
With London being such a large capital city, there are of course numerous companies which have premises here. For example, many of the leading UK, European and US banks have large offices in the City – Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale, Coutts, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered, Citi Bank, Comerzbank and JP Morgan to name but a few. Likewise, many leading firms in other sectors, such as technology, retail and so on, also have a major presence in London.

Major industries
• Finance and Banking
• IT and Telecoms
• Retail
• Hospitality and Tourism

Key recruitment agencies and job boards
Most UK-wide recruitment agencies will carry a high number of London-based contractor jobs, so they should be pretty easy to track down. Try all the usual options and then search for the area of London and the industry sector that you are interested in. There are also some London-specific job sites for a full list of contractor recruiters as recommended by our clients visit: Contractor Recruiters

Local newspapers
To find contractor opportunities, remember to keep an eye out in the local papers, as they often have features on recent investments or new companies opening in the area, as well of course as the jobs pages. There are quite a few to choose from in London, but the best read ones are probably the Evening Standard, City AM, the Metro, London Daily News, TNT Magazine and of course the national dailies. Many of these also have useful and informative websites as well.

Typical rates of pay
Typical rates of pay in London for contractors do of course vary depending on your individual skill-set, but as an example, an IT Contractor could expect to earn between £450 and £500 per day on average in a London-based job, whilst a non-IT or less specialist contractor is probably looking at around the £350 to £400 mark, however rates can be as high as £1,000 plus per day. For typical rates of pay for London across a variety of skill sets visit our contractor rates of pay page.

Ones to watch - London 2010 Olympics
In London, one of the largest likely sources of jobs for contractors over the next couple of years will of course be the run-up to the Olympics in 2012. Additional contracting jobs are being created as the UK works to get its infrastructure, and of course the necessary stadia, ready for this huge event.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODC) is managing the process of awarding construction-related contracts to firms, and these firms will then decide the best approach for bringing additional skill-sets on board. Something which is widely expected to involve a high number of contractors – and indeed this is already starting to prove to be the case. A number of major contracts have already been awarded and these include:

  • CLM Consortium as Delivery Partner
  • J Murphy & Sons for the construction of 12km of tunnels to carry power lines to replace existing overhead cables
  • The EDAW Consortium, including Arup and Atkins, as Olympic Park and Infrastructure designers.

Outside of the Olympics, TFL (Transport For London) is always looking for contractors for their projects. For example, it recently spent millions on the new ‘Interactive Journey Planner’ website, and the majority of the work was carried out using contractors.

In general, London is seen as being a city which is beating the recession and, in a recent survey, one in which 61% of international firms stated that they would be more confident about the economic prospects for their business. In the same survey, 90% of firms questioned said they are satisfied with London as a location to do business, and nearly ¾ said that the London Underground upgrade programme would be an important factor for their company.

In response to the survey, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, recently stated, "We are working extremely hard to maintain and improve the capital’s reputation as an open, diverse, cosmopolitan city and international companies continuing to locate here play a crucial role. I applaud them for their continued confidence and, in turn, will ensure that we continue to set the benchmark as the most successful, sustainable and prosperous world city."

So, all in all, it seems that London is a great place to become a contractor as the recession loosens its bite on the UK.

Things to consider about contracting in London


  • Higher rates of pay than elsewhere in the country
  • Great tube, rail and road network 
  • Wider range of opportunities available
  • Excellent social life


  • Rent are the highest in the country – a one bedroom apartment could cost you well over £1,000 a month.
  • Traffic congestion – and the congestion charge of course
  • Some people consider London to be impersonal and unfriendly
  • Higher crime rates than elsewhere in the UK

For information on other regional contracting guides, see the links below (we will be adding more guides over time):

Contracting in Aberdeen
Contracting in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Contracting in Newcastle
Contracting in Reading and Guildford
Contracting in Milton Keynes
Contracting in Bristol, Bath, Cardiff
Contracting in Birmingham
Contracting in Manchester, Liverpool and the North West

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new business team on 01442 275789 or e-mail: