The recent ATC Contingent Workforce Conference reported that in 2015, 32% of Australian workers took part in some form of contract work.
In fact, on average, 25% of the workforce identifies as being casual each year. I’m not just talking about Uber drivers and cleaners either – Australia has some of the highest access to educated and highly skilled contingent staff in the world, whilst also providing employers with some of the greatest flexibility and most favourable conditions.
Is your business taking advantage of the skilled, highly qualified contingent workforce?
Despite this, many businesses today still take little or no advantage of this resource. In part, this is because the employment market is still heavily biased towards permanent employment, as is the legal system that governs it, but younger generations (particularly millennials) are disengaged from the rigidity of structured permanent employment.
Unfortunately, many businesses simply decide not to recruit if they are unsure about their ability to keep a new permanent resource duly employed for the long term. This can result in staff burnout from being overworked and missed opportunities such as the failure to realise desired results through projects, audits, and improvements.
When to use contractors as part of your talent strategy
Traditionally, contract resources were brought in to cover maternity, long service, or sick leave. However, today contractors are effectively utilised for many reasons – for example, during a period of increased capital expenditure, to deliver continuous improvement projects, to integrate new systems and processes, to prepare for audits and deliver corrective actions.
Contractors are not just people who float around from contract to contract. They might have been displaced by site closure, redundancy or restructure, through geographical relocation, or through industrial or economic change. Contractors in most cases are just as well qualified and skilled as permanent staff, and in a time when headcount approvals are difficult to come by and skill requirements are often specialised and temporary, contract resources can be an employer’s best friend.