As a nation, we have never been more dependent on the internet and mobile phones to keep us connected with the world around us, and we are always striving for better coverage and faster data. In 2013, 73% of the UK’s population accessed the internet every day and over 70% owned a smartphone.
Consequently, demand for telecommunications engineers appears to be increasing and many find contracting an attractive alternative to working as a full-time employee.
As a Telecommunications Engineer, you can work on a contract basis in roles across a variety of telecommunication areas including:
- Mobile phone coverage,
- Landline telephone lines,
- Computer networks,
- Digital television,
- Broadband lines.
For more information read our guide and discover the benefits of working as a contractor, how to find work, opportunities overseas and rates of pay.
Advantages of working as a Telecommunications Engineer contractor
There are many advantages to working as a contractor in the Telecommunications market including:
- Contractors often receive higher rates of pay than if they were working as a permanent employee. This is due to the fact that employers do not have to pay for additional benefits such as pension contributions, holiday entitlement and sick pay. Many contact rates are decided based on the role and your experience, so you may have the opportunity to negotiate your salary with your clients.
- Contractors can enjoy flexible working hours as they can choose where, when and how often they work, which leaves more time for personal commitments. This is demonstrated in SJD’s latest Contractor Attitude Survey, where 72% of those surveyed said that contracting has had a positive effect on their work/life balance.
- Through working as a Limited company contractor there are more tax planning opportunities available to you, such as the ability to claim business related costs as business expenses. For more information on what costs you may be entitled to claim to take a look at our Contractor’s Guide to Expenses page.
- As a contractor, you can take your career in the direction that you want it to go by only accepting contracts, which will provide the experience and skill development that will benefit you. Having a range of experience will not only increase your skill set, making you potentially more desirable to future employers but also a long list of references and industry contacts.
For more information on how working on a contract basis could benefit you then please visit our benefits of contracting page.
Finding work as a Telecommunications Engineer
To find work as a Telecommunications Engineer your first point of call would be to contact one of the many recruitment agencies that specialise in the engineering or telecommunications markets. Below are some agencies and job boards that you may find useful:
- Glotel is telecommunication recruitment professionals who specialise in data networks, research and development and mobile communications. They operate across 50 different countries and have offices throughout the UK and Asia.
- Telecoms Job Source is a sector-specific job board who advertise permanent and contract positions across the telecommunications industry. The website also provides advice on CV writing and telecommunications career resources.
- Fuel Recruitment has been operating since 2003 and specialises in recruiting for positions in the IT, Telecoms, Broadcast and Engineering sectors.
One of the biggest communication companies and a leading supplier of Telecommunications Engineering jobs throughout the UK and internationally is British Telecom (BT). They operate in more than 170 countries across the globe and employ over 89,000 members of staff. The BT Engineer Jobs website lists all their current vacancies for both permanent and contract positions.
Telecommunication Engineers are in short supply in far off places like Australia and New Zealand, appearing on the skilled occupation list (SOL) for both countries. Telecommunication Engineers are also in demand closer to home in European countries such as The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.
To find contracting opportunities for Telecommunications Engineers overseas there are many recruitment agencies that work internationally. One such agency is Darwin Recruitment, who are specialists in the IT and Telecommunications markets. With offices in the UK, Amsterdam, Munich and Zurich, they offer permanent and contract positions throughout the UK and Europe.
Developing countries are experiencing significant advancements in their communication networks, which may lead to increased opportunities for skilled telecommunication experts. Technical staffing companies such as Penta Consulting work with leading telecommunication organisations such as MTN and Virgin, recruit for positions worldwide.
Rates of pay for Contracting Telecommunications Engineers
Naturally, rates of pay will vary depending on location and demand, but below are some approximate daily rates that you could expect to earn as a Telecommunications Engineer contractor (based on 2014 availability).
Telecommunications Engineer £300 per day
Telecommunications Business Analyst £350 – £400 per day
Telecommunications Developer £350 – £400 per day
Telecommunications Project Manager £400 – £450 per day
These rates will, of course, be subject to tax and national insurance deductions. For a clear idea of the amount that you could be taking home why not use our contractor take home pay calculator?
Whether you are planning to work in the UK or abroad you need to decide what the best way to operate is for you. You can either contract as a Limited company director or through using the services of an Umbrella company. Read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
If you choose to operate through an umbrella company you are essentially an employee of that company and they will pay your salary to you with tax and national insurance deducted. The advantages of working through an umbrella company are:
- Simple to use,
- Minimal paperwork,
- Ideal for those that are only going to be contracting for a short amount of time (usually three months or less).
However, employing the services of an umbrella company is the most expensive way to work as you will have to pay full tax and national insurance in the same way that a permanent employee would. This means that through using an umbrella company you will typically be taking home 60% – 65% of your contract rate. Through using an umbrella company you are also fully reliant on them to collect your salary and pay it onto you.
If you have decided that using an umbrella company is not the right decision for you then you may want to consider forming your own Limited company. There are many advantages to working as a Limited company director such as:
- The most tax efficient way of working as you will typically take home 75% – 80% of your contract,
- Ability to claim a wider range of expenses,
- Have complete control of your finances,
- Greater opportunities for tax planning.
The disadvantages of working as a director of a Limited company is that you will have to complete around 10 to 15 minutes worth of paperwork each month. This can also be a costly option if you are only going to be contracting for a short period of time (usually 3 months or less).
If you are still undecided then visit our Limited company vs umbrella page for more information on the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
If you have decided that forming a Limited company is the best option for you then you will be happy to know that the process is probably far more straightforward than you are expecting.
Forming a Limited company
The process involved in forming a Limited company is surprisingly straightforward and can usually be completed in one day. SJD Accountancy offers a same day company formation service, which is designed to make the process as simple as possible. Our complete company formation package includes help with setting up business bank accounts and advice on how to best structure your company. Once you have decided on your company name make sure that it is available by using our company name checker. The next step is to complete our company formation form, and once this is completed it will take approximately three working hours to finalise the formation.
Once you have formed your Limited company you may want to consider appointing an accountant to handle your personal and business tax affairs. This will ensure that you are working as tax efficiently as possible and taking advantage of any relevant benefits that are available to you, such as off-setting your business expenses against your tax bill.
With over 15,000 clients, SJD is the UK’s largest contractor accountancy firm and have been acting on behalf of contractors, freelancers and interims since 1992.
How can SJD help?
Our complete business accountancy package is priced at just £120 + VAT per month and includes unlimited access to your own dedicated account. For more information about the service that we offer please visit our services page or if you would like to become an SJD Accountancy client then please click here.
For more information about becoming a Limited company Telecommunications Engineer or contracting in general then please contact our New Client Services team who will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us on 01442 275789 or email email@example.com.