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A recent survey of over 31,500 respondents has shown that a worrying proportion of private sector employers are not aware of the looming IR35 changes.

The data, compiled by Hays, revealed that less than half (43%) of medium and large sized private sector organisations who regularly engage non-permanent contractors have begun preparing for the changes coming into force in April 2020.

A fifth said they hadn’t begun preparations and over a third (37%) were unsure.

Over two thirds (68%) of medium and large sized organisations in the private sector believe the biggest risks of IR35 to be potential cost increases, followed by over half (56%) who are concerned about a loss of key talent. Nearly half (46%) of private sector employers believe the changes to the legalisation will make it harder to engage non-permanent contractors.

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Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, commented on the findings, “It’s concerning to see that such a large number of private sector organisations who engage non-permanent contractors are either unaware of the legislation, haven’t begun preparations or do not even know what proportion of their workforce the reforms relate to.

“Organisations should begin to address key issues associated with the IR35 reforms to avoid potential risks including increased costs and workloads, as well as a loss of key talent. In a skills-short market, it’s important that employers take these risks seriously to avoid losing talent to other organisations who are better prepared.

“For employers who are already underway with their preparation, changes to the legislation are an opportunity for them to secure better investment in engaging contractors, lower their overall contractor costs and become a destination of choice for top contracting talent.”

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