Hiring Contractors vs Employees

Contractors vs Permanent Employees – Who Should I Hire?

Attracting the best talent within a competitive job market is vital to the growth and success of any business.  But as recent employment trends continue to indicate more and more professionals are turning to a freelance/contractor career path, hiring managers will need to look more closely at the benefits of recruiting freelance contractors over permanent employees. Below are 6 reasons to consider hiring a contractor if you ever find yourself asking the question ‘Should I hire a contractor or permanent employee?’

1)      Expanding Your Available Talent Pool

Numbers show that a greater number of seasoned professionals decide to take the freelance route every year, so it’s likely that some of the best talent you’re looking to hire may not be interested in working permanently at all.  Recruiting contractors can be a very quick solution to finding specific skill sets that are needed for key projects or business initiatives.

2)      Your Talent is Not Limited by Location

While hiring permanent staff normally limits your search to a small number of professionals in the area who can work on site (unless you are can offer permanent telecommute positions), the freelance pool of talent enables you to employ contractors from anywhere in the world, based on their skillset.  A number of technology platforms have emerged specialising in helping companies find and engage with contractors; a trend that has helped add competition to the freelance market, and make accessing contractors even more affordable.

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 3)      Specialist Talent

Permanent workers are expected to stick with the business for the long run, improve and advance within their initial role and use the experience to progress to a higher level position. This relationship enables them to develop a wide variety of skills, not specialize, which works well in situations where the definition of a role can change quickly. Freelancers, on the other hand, tend to be specialists within their field and they’re better at well-defined roles.

4)      Commitment & Adaptability

While permanent staff are normally in tune with brand values, the big picture and long-term plans, freelancers devote all their energy to the project at hand. Permanent employees are therefore normally better at planning and assessing risks, while freelancers are more comfortable executing projects and strategies. Still, contractors care about getting the job done right, as their feedback could directly impact winning repeat work and further building their reputation amongst their peers, which means they often go the extra mile without additional incentives.

Some argue that permanent staff may be better at working in a team, because they know the company and other employees better, although freelancers by their nature are normally used to quickly adapting to new work environments. Many companies hire freelancers for long-term work, enjoying both the flexibility of the relationship and a stable commitment.

5)      Speed & Quality of Work

Because most contractors are experienced, they normally need less training than a permanent employee who’s just starting. Companies can therefore save time (and money) by delegating urgent and immediate work to freelancers instead of hiring and training someone new. It’s always good to have core staff overseeing contractors, as they have more experience with the exact procedures and practices within a company, but freelancers bring in new, fresh ideas and improvements.

6)      Costs

Obviously an all important aspect when considering permanent employees or contractors is the cost, and you may well be surprised at how the cost of hiring freelancers can compare favourably with permanent counterparts.

With a freelancer you know exactly what the cost will be. With permanent members of staff you need to factor in a lot of hidden or extra costs. Holiday and other benefits, bonuses, employer tax obligations, pensions and the list can go on when you look at how you hopefully invest in your permanent staff to include training and development.

There can be costs to consider when managing and hiring freelancers.  Initially finding the right contractor as well as keeping track of the amount of work they do, can either be expensive when recruitment agencies are involved, or complicated, when companies are tasked with organising pay and timesheets by themselves.  This is where it’s especially important to look at technologies that streamline these aspects of the recruitment process, so that you can still take advantage of the benefits of using contractors whilst minimising costs.

In conclusion, while there are certain jobs that are best done by permanent staff, there is an increasing amount of work that could be delegated to freelance professionals who can help companies stay on budget, improve business practices and bring in fresh ideas to any business. Indeed in the future it’s very likely that more firms will turn to a hybrid workforce management model, utilising a small core of permanent employees supplemented by freelance contractors.

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