Contracting is one of the fastest-growing employment arrangements in Australia and around the world according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of the 12.6 million people who were employed in August 2018, contracting accounts for 8% of the Australian workforce. Out of these, 9% are professionals, says Eva Grabner, Managing Director of Elite Executive.
These figures demonstrate that contracting is becoming increasingly popular among candidates, and it seems this trend will continue as the workforce shifts towards temporary staffing.
Contractors can add value and address business challenges whether it be dealing with transition periods in business, supporting rapid growth, a changing agenda, or a digital transformation.
The key benefits to a business when hiring contract or temporary workers is:
The primary reason to use a contractor rather than employ a full-time member of staff is the flexibility it gives you. Contractors can be hired on a short-term basis, meaning that if a project is completed early or a budget is suddenly cut, then the contractor can easily move on. This is also the case if the contractor is not a good cultural fit with the organization, for example, as you can simply use a different contractor once the contract ends. Rather than taking on full-time staff to help with this change, you can simply bring on a contractor to help in the interim.
This flexibility can also be useful if you have peaks and troughs in seasonal work or a fluctuating workload. This can work significantly better than hiring a permanent member of staff, because if there is eventually a drought of work, then there will be no need to make redundancies.
For projects where speed is of the essence, and you suddenly need a large influx of staff, contractors can fill this gap. Contractors can be brought on as needed to support a time-sensitive project or build a team quickly to support rapid growth. Additionally, between hires, contractors can help support an overburdened department while you search for the right permanent candidate to fill the role.
Engaging a contractor can also be a way to “try before you buy” – giving you the chance to see a contractor working on the job before engaging them for a longer contract or perhaps even offering them a full-time position.
- Specialized skillset
When you need a specific skill set for a short period of time, perhaps because it is a transitional period in your organization, or perhaps because you require a quick turnaround and do not have enough staff in-house, contractors can be the answer.
Many contractors have years of experience in a niche area, meaning you would not need to train them, and they can hit the ground running. Independent contractors typically have the relevant licenses required to do their job in line with current legislation and have a good overview of the current market. They focus on this particular area day in, day out, meaning they’re more likely to be abreast of changes in the industry and cutting- edge practices.
Bringing in a contractor also means that your full- time employees can continue to focus on the core function of the business, while contractors can add the value with their specialized skill sets.
Contractors have often worked in many different companies, giving them a diverse array of organizational experience. This can give contractors a fresh or unique perspective and can allow them to evaluate your business and processes from an outside perspective. Fresh ideas and innovation are often found in the diversity of voices – bringing in new temporary staff to add to the mix could be just what you need for a more creative edge.
- Cutting Costs
Although they can cost significantly more per-hour than permanent employees, contractors should be seen as a way to save money. Full-time employees may have benefits such as leave and superannuation costs which can quickly add up in terms of cost to the company. Recruiting full- time employees can in itself be a resource-heavy process, especially if you’re determined to find the right permanent candidate for the job. These are not costs associated with contractors, meaning that while their salaries may be higher per hour, they may be cost-efficient for the business overall.
It is widely accepted that training new staff has a significant resource and time cost to an organization. Contractors eliminate this cost; if you pick the right contractor, they will have all the skills you need for the role from day one.
Is a Contractor Right For You?
Here are some questions to help establish if you need a contractor:
- Do you need someone for a short-term role?
- Do you have a skills gap a contractor could fill?
- Are you under-resourced but don’t have enough work for a full-time role?
- Do you have a small budget but need big results?
- Do you need results quickly for a time-sensitive project?
- Does the project require specialist knowledge?
Contractors are not right for every situation, but if you have a specific skill deficit to fill, are a rapidly growing organization, or you think you’ll only need a service for a short-term contract, then a contractor could be a better option to meet your hiring needs.