One in two employers to hire contract staff ahead of holiday season

Companies making 'opportunistic, selective' hires as full-time employees take a break

One in two employers to hire contract staff ahead of holiday season

Employers across Australia are planning to hire contract staff starting this December in anticipation of employees taking a leave amid a busy summer season.

A new survey among 300 respondents by Robert Half found that 53% are planning to hire contract staff between December 1, 2023, and January 3, 2024.

Businesses from Western Australia are expected to rely the most on contract staff (59%) starting next month, according to the survey. They are followed by employers in Queensland (55%), Victoria (53%), and New South Wales (47%).

"The employment market is recalibrating during the holiday period, and companies are making opportunistic, selective hires to ensure they bring in the strongest talent," said Andrew Brushfield, director at Robert Half, in a statement.

Roles available

Brushfield said opportunities are available for contractors who have skills in finance, security, and privacy knowledge. There are also roles available for contractors with data entry and customer service skills.

According to general hiring managers in the report, roles with the most opportunities include those in:

  • Data entry (25%)
  • Customer service or call centre (25%)
  • Account management (21%)
  • Logistics (18%)
  • Front desk/reception (16%)

For chief financial officers in the survey, the roles with many opportunities include those in:

  • Payroll (27%)
  • Financial reporting (25%)
  • Budgets and analysis (24%)
  • Finance and financial planning and analysis (17%)
  • Tax and treasury (17%)

For chief information officers included in the survey, the roles with many opportunities include those in:

  • Security, privacy, and compliance (26%)
  • Software and applications development (24%)
  • Cloud architecture and operation (22%)
  • Network and systems (21%)
  • Project and programme management (17%)

"Before hiring contractors, employers should carefully assess their needs, the nature of the work, and the potential benefits and drawbacks to ensure that it aligns with their overall workforce strategy," Brushfield said.

Employees on leave amid holidays

The abundance of contracting opportunities come as employers expect many of their staff to go on leave starting December amid a busy season for businesses.

In fact, the latest findings from Expedia revealed that vacation deprivation rates in Australia are on par with 2021 at 65%.

The expected absence of full-time employees is also expected to remain until January - which is regarded as the "peak month" for employees taking annual leave, holidays, flex time, or long-service leave.

Brushfield said hiring contract staff is a "cost-effective strategy" to ensure businesses keep running without some full-time employees.

"Businesses can tap into a wide range of talent without committing to long-term employment contracts, which is valuable for short-term projects or for tapping into specialised skills," he said.

Recent articles & video

WGEA unveils gender pay gaps of private sector employers

Report cites 'troubling decline in mental health' of employees

'The status quo is unacceptable, so the work must continue'

Employers told to be more transparent amid rising underpayment cases

Most Read Articles

Could remote work become a legal right?

Woolworths bars Indigenous, LGBTQI+ stickers on badges: reports

Which industries have the highest pay in Australia?