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The importance of contractors in an unstable economy

17 March 2021

We modestly celebrated a stronger economic climb in the second half of 2020 following major setbacks due to COVID-19, yet although the 2021 economy has continued its recovery, the near future will be volatile and the resounding message for organisations and workers alike should be to be prepared for continuous change. 

The economy today is now biased towards contract workers that are either casually hired on a short-term basis, or for a fixed term.  Forming the most part of the workforce, this group isn’t seen as a top up to a permanent workforce to cover higher demand but as an ongoing resource strategy. Agility will be a key factor for workers and for organisations managing HR recruitment; to plug specialist skills gaps into their existing workforce. 

For many organisations a recruitment freeze will be in place for 2021 although companies are actively employing flexible contracts to drive their business agendas. This is to meet the demand of existing priorities and new digital transformation projects to meet the continued changes of an increasing digitised and disparate workforce (recruiters seeking Gen Z contractors – 53% in the freelance pool - will generally find them working from their lounges, in a coffee shop or a co-working space). Digital transformation type roles are best suited to highly skilled contractors for the duration of the project. Flexibility is a desirable factor, as we’ve now looked at, yet add to that controlling short- and long-term costs to meet budgets and the needs of the business. 

eLearning Industry reported in 2020 that 67% of HR leaders rate skilled labour as their greatest challenge.  

The ease of onboarding contractors  

Once the contractor talent has been secured, the onboarding process can be efficient. Contractor onboarding used to be a challenge for HR leaders.  Only last year there was confusion with how to apply tax to non-permanent staff and that saw a change in legislation in the form of IR35.  These teething problems have now been ironed out. Digital transformation and the creation of tools such as contractor management systems that provide a platform for employers and contractors alike make hiring easy. 

The onboarding process has been simplified where contractors can easily upload documents in the form of ID, licences, and qualifications.  This can all be done digitally, saving time that would historically have only been conducted in person. 

Contractors are cheaper, saving the business in overheads and specialist skills gaps can be quickly plugged this way on a project basis for when the business needs it. Once the job is complete and the contractor no longer required, they move on. 

Including key and company specific training in your onboarding processes. Not only for ethics and conduct, yet also to understand and adopt the company culture that can be lost through throngs of email communication. Cover policies and procedures, professional conduct, social media policies as well as mandatory workplace training to meet compliance needs that extend to your entire workforce whatever the level of engagement, nature of work and location/s they operate from. 

Future-proof your contract management  

Sitepass is one such company that offers a contractor management system to meet the contractor needs of today.  Related articles include How to manage contractors in the digital age and Flexible working and the need to manage contractors 

 

Ben Borin
Ben Borin

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