The use of skilled and experienced contract workers to manage sudden changes in demand and other project work is increasingly becoming a favourable option for employers. In fact it is an absolute necessity to hire certain skills as they simply don’t exist in the permanent side of the talent pool.
Whether you are a small and fast-growing start-up or an established organization hiring contractors, it’s now a strategic choice to deliver the right change to your business, services to your customers and value to your shareholders.
You could say it is en vogue but it is a lot more considered than that. Here we look at the top 5 advantages of using contract workers.
1. Skills analysis
Hiring contract staff enables Hiring Managers to observe the abilities of a worker over a period of time without having to make a long-term commitment. In this way, you avoid the risks of a probationary period you normally have with a new hire and you also save on cost-per-hire and the costs associated with making a bad hiring decision. It is quickly correctable too!
2. Cultural & environmental fit
For small to medium sized businesses contract workers can be a significantly cost-efficient way of ‘test-driving’ potential permanent staff and can be a win-win situation for both the candidate and your company. In the USA I believe it called a try-buy. Some contractors will not consider permanent positions under any conditions so be sure to open those discussions at the top of your relationship so everyone is on the same page.
Direct contract hiring has significant positive cost and time of hire implications for employers. Not only are recruitment costs kept to a minimum, the time spent screening and interviewing suitable candidates is also reduced. Simply put if the worker meets your requirements and has the qualifications for the role at hand, you can (in theory) hire them immediately. This eliminates the somewhat lengthy process often associated with permanent recruitment practices.
4. Boost to business growth
Hiring contract workers can also play a major part in adding to your bottom line. Regardless of whether you are undergoing a period of change or growth (or both), your company can benefit from the skills, knowledge and commercial experience that probably does not exist elsewhere in your business. Contract workers typically have an ability to add value immediately. They thrive on solving problems, can grasp a challenge and hit the ground running to deliver you an ROI sooner than you may have expected.
5. Strategic flexibility
Contract workers enable you to drive your business change safe in the knowledge that you can scale projects back or accelerate quicker should you need to without having to manage costly redundancy programmes, structural reorganisations and diminished morale. In the current climate of global economic uncertainty the ability to increase or decrease your workforce on demand is a key driver to business success. The Holy Grail used to be to attract the best talent as a permanent asset of the company. Take that risk now and you could be holding the costs on your payroll long after that employee stops adding any value. Through no fault of yours or theirs. Build a true contingent workforce of professional and highly skilled contractors and you build real agility into your business.
When you bear in mind the points made above, perhaps it’s no surprise that in 2012, the number of new permanent jobs in the professional recruitment market fell, with research revealing a 2% drop in the number of available jobs over the last year. Meanwhile, the number of temporary placements increased by 4%. Ann Swain, Chief Executive at APSCo, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies said “We’re seeing a very continuous trend in the professional recruitment market towards the hiring of temporary staff in preference to permanent staff. Businesses still don’t have the confidence to make permanent hires when they can use temporary staff instead.
“Whilst an increase in temporary placements may not appear good news as permanent hires fall, the use of contract workers is offering a great deal of flexibility to both employers and employees.”
To find out more about how the jobs market changed over the past 12 months, make sure you take a look at Professional jobs market continues to replace permanent jobs with contractors by APSCo.
You may be surprised at exactly how many UK businesses are turning to contractors…