Becoming a Telecommunications Engineer

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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.

Consequently, demand for telecommunications engineers appears to be increasing and many find contracting an attractive alternative to working as a full-time employee.

Working as a Telecommunications Engineer

As a Telecommunications Engineer, you will 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.

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 Contractor Attitude Survey, where 72% of those surveyed stated that contracting has had a positive effect on their work/life balance.

  • Working as a limited company contractor means that 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 guide to expenses.

  • 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 skillset, making you 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, visit our benefits of contracting page.

Where to find work as a Telecommunications Engineer

To find work as a Telecommunications Engineer, your first step should 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.
  • Easy Accountancy is a contractor specific hub with industry resources, contractor-specific guides and job listings.
  • British Telecom (BT) is one of the biggest communication companies and a leading supplier of Telecommunications Engineering jobs throughout the UK and internationally. They operate in more than 170 countries across the globe and employ over 89,000 members of staff. he BT Engineer Jobs website lists all their current vacancies for both permanent and contract positions.

Thinking about becoming a contractor?

Are you making the jump to working for yourself? Our expert advice team can give you all the information you need when setting up as a contractor.

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Opportunities for Telecommunications Engineers overseas

Telecommunication Engineers are in short supply in Europe and further afield in New Zealand and Australia, appearing on the skilled occupation list (SOL) for both countries.

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.

For more information about finding contracting roles abroad, visit our contracting abroad hub.

Rates of pay for 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 2019 availability).

Job Role

Day Rate

Telecommunications Engineer

£411 per day

Telecommunications Business Analyst

£425 per day

Telecommunications Developer

£425 per day

Telecommunications Project Manager

£425 per day

For a clearer idea of the amount you could earn, try our take home pay calculator.

Should I work through an umbrella company or my own limited company?

Whether you are planning to work in the UK or abroad, you will need to decide which business structure to use. Two of the most common options are as a limited company director or using the services of an umbrella company.

Working under an umbrella company

If you choose to operate through an umbrella company, you become an employee of that company and they will pay your salary. 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, working under an umbrella company is the most expensive way to operate as you will have to pay full tax and National Insurance as an employee. You can find out more about working under an umbrella company in our guide.

limited company

Contracting through your own limited company

Becoming the director of your own limited company means more responsibility, but there are also a host of benefits, including:

  • The ability to claim a wider range of expenses,
  • More control of your finances,
  • Greater opportunities for tax planning.

The disadvantage of contracting through 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.

All you need to start a limited company

Discover all the intricacies of contracting through a limited company with our free downloadable guide.

What’s in the guide?

  • Understanding legislation – what is IR35 and what could it mean for your business?
  • Maximising your expenses – find out what business costs you can expense through your company.
  • Making your business a success – a look at how to manage your time, market yourself and make your business a success.
limited company

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.

To find out more about how we can help your limited company, get in touch on 01442 275 789.

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