Employers hiring contractors to sustain recovery

A flexible workforce isn’t just a stop-gap solution

Employers hiring contractors to sustain recovery

Businesses in Australia are gearing up for growth in the wake of COVID-19, with plans to increase headcount and address a looming talent gap in some sectors. A third of hiring managers (31%) are looking to grow their teams by enlisting contract workers, a study from staffing firm Robert Half suggests.

This move is predicted to increase the number of contract workers in the Australian labour force. The segment currently makes up only eight per cent of the country’s working population.

Read more: When is a contractor really an employee?

Meanwhile, nearly half of companies (46%) also plan to retain the size of their existing contract staff. The trends will purportedly offer a “strong employment funnel for skilled talent,” the study said.

Even as Australians eye a period of recovery in the coming year, organisations and their HR teams will likely remain cautious and tap into a more agile ‘combination’ workforce. These are workers who can easily adapt to changing business needs.

“Using a flexible staffing model which embraces a mix of contract and permanent workers can be a strategic solution to such caution,” said Nicole Gorton, Robert Half Director Australia. “It offers companies immediate access to candidates with specialised skills who can make an immediate contribution to business-critical or project-based work with minimal training.”

Read more: Employer penalised $89K after misclassification

“Companies don’t just rely on contract staff to maintain business continuity or temporarily replace permanent employees. More and more businesses rely on experienced contractors to actively grow their business,” Gorton said, citing other reasons companies are turning to temporary staff:

  • To remain nimble during changing economic conditions – 53%
  • To access specialised skills/subject matter expertise – 51%
  • To scale teams as needed without affecting full-time employees – 49%
  • To require support for special projects – 43%
  • To alleviate the burden on existing employees – 41%
  • To determine if someone is the right fit for a full-time role – 38%

“As companies re-evaluate their strategic priorities on the road to recovery, there will be a heightened focus on new revenue-building opportunities and future growth. Contract workers will be increasingly valuable to overseeing fixed-term projects or supporting business-critical initiatives which require niche skillsets.”

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