Updated by Hays UAE, July 2017
Within the last decade, there has been a colossal increase in the demand for contract hires. This widespread trend is no longer one driven solely by cost reduction or a reaction to sudden market fluctuations or business requirements, as it once was.
Many of our clients now see contracting recruitment as a central facet of both their long-term staffing and indeed wider business strategy, as they realise that the key to managing a successful workforce is having access to the right people with the right skills at the right time; or “talent on demand”.
As such, the recruitment of contractors is seen as less of a knee-jerk reaction to the economic climate, or immediate business needs, and here’s why:
1. Contractors bring niche skills into your business
There is a common misconception that contractors are generally less experienced than permanent employees, and so are recruited for more junior roles. This is not the case. Contractors are now employed for all manner of occupations, right up to board level. Many contractors fulfil highly specialised, niche roles which require an extensive skill-set.
At Hays, for example, we specialise in providing many highly-skilled contractors within the IT sector. These professionals are expected to learn new skills and keep up to date with the latest trends. They need to continually invest in their own business (themselves) to survive and prosper. To be a successful contractor, you need to be highly skilled at what you do, as your income is very much dependent on your performance – in contrast to permanent employees who could become complacent in a role after a certain period, but still be hard to exile from the business.
The appeal of contracting is widening (fuelled by the changing demographics and the varying demands of the younger generations) and contracting is now seen as an attractive way of working for professionals of all seniorities and skill-sets. Highly skilled and in-demand candidates – such as those we place within the IT sector – are moving into the market as a result; mainly driven by attractive wages, beneficial tax breaks, longer holiday periods and greater all-round flexibility.
2. Contractors boost productivity
Contractors are usually brought in to work on a specific project, and that is their sole focus. This means that they don’t have the distraction of other menial tasks or office politics that affect their permanent colleagues, and so can get more done in less time.
The diligent attitude that contractors tend to adopt towards their work – born out of the fact they are dependent on good recommendations in exchange for short periods of employment– not only has a positive direct impact on the bottom line but can also be an indirect positive influence on other permanent employees. Contractors can also have a more direct effect on these staff by supporting those who are overstretched.
3. Contractors bring a fresh perspective
What better way to introduce a continuous stream of fresh ideas into your organisation than to recruit highly proficient and experienced contractors throughout the year? These contractors probably have extensive experience working on different projects, from different companies across different industries. This can open your business up to a whole wealth of expertise. ‘Groupthink’ is a wicked disease which affects many good organisations with low labour turnover; hiring contractors can be the perfect remedy!
4. Contractors bring flexibility to your workforce
Contract staff can be engaged and released at short notice, depending on the needs of your business and/or market. They can be used to supplement your workforce during sudden: busy periods, new clients or departures of existing staff. Consider them the spine of the economy, says Daniel Dubbert, IT Contracting Operations Manager, Hays EMEA – “Just as the spine allows the body to bend and navigate its surroundings, contracting gives the economy the flexibility it needs to adapt to the changing environment”.
As mentioned earlier, flexible working is a benefit which the younger working generation prioritise when job searching. Therefore, by employing contractors you are responding to this demand and demonstrating to prospective candidates that you are an employer of choice.
5. Contractors save time and resource
The process for hiring contractors through a recruiter like Hays is traditionally a lot quicker than on-boarding a permanent employee or carrying out the process yourself. This is because there is less admin for the employer to do and recruiter takes responsibility for most stages of the hiring process; such as interviewing and reference checking. Plus, the contractor will not fall under your company’s headcount.
While you should, of course, treat all of your employees with the same respect and kindness, contractors are hired for technical skills and to deliver something specific, rather than long-term cultural fit. In other words, you will not have to take contractors through the same rigorous on-boarding process you would permanent employees.
Contractors also save your business time as they are quicker to find, and more readily available than permanent hires. This means they are able to make an instant impact, sooner.
6. Contractors are trial employees
Finally, hiring a contractor gives you the option of evaluating whether you have a long-term job requirement in a function, and then whether you want to take that particular individual on full-time or not.
A final thought
Hopefully, you’ve realised why contractors could be right for your business. Supplementing your workforce with contract workers can help boost productivity, innovation, employee satisfaction and, ultimately, the bottom line. Hiring for contractors and hiring for permanent employees are two different processes, and so it’s imperative you create two entirely distinctive job specs.
With the demand for contract workers only set to increase, it’s crucial that your business puts in place a hiring strategy with these employees in mind so that you are equipped for the modern world of work.
I hope you found this blog useful. If so, you may also enjoy the below: