Posted by: Barry Attwater

Posted on: .

Why make a career out of temporary and contract roles?

In an ever-changing world of recruitment, clients and candidates have become quite adventurous with their approach to employment. Clients are thinking outside of the traditional 9-5 permanent offering and candidates are acutely aware they are in a good position to negotiate flexible working patterns.

With more organisations identifying the benefits of working from home, hot desking, job sharing and flexible working around core hours, this has brought candidates into contention who are looking for that extra bit of flexibility by taking up offers of temporary or fixed-term contracts.

An increasing number of candidates have made successful working lifestyles by being "career temps" and career contractors". While there is a potential risk involved of not having continuous employment, they are often sort after for their areas of expertise where they can come in and get the job done with very little supervision and training.

I often ask temporary and contract candidates, why? Why make a career out of temporary and contract roles? The answers are quite simply that they enjoy the flexibility both options offer. As a temporary worker, there is the opportunity to work with a multitude of organisations across many verticals. Moreover, as they are paid by the hour, they can often adjust to a working pattern that works well for both parties, or, take extended leave between positions if they wish to do so.

Contract workers often enjoy the flexibility of being part of a project and being identified as someone in a specific industry who can add value to an organisation by simply keeping things ticking over by offering a short-term option where there is a professional need. Contractors and temporary workers differ slightly in that a temporary worker may be happy to work the odd day, week or even 3-6 months before moving onto something else, whereas the contract worker is happy with the security of a commitment to an organisation for a period of time until the requirement is no longer there.

As an employer, the temporary and contract option can be viewed as a “try before you buy” solution to a recruitment need. Yes, there may be a slightly higher price to pay for a premium option in the initial stages, but this often offers organisations experienced candidates who can prove their value before committing to a long-term arrangement. Too often I hear of instances where a recruitment need has been fulfilled and a candidate has decided not to return after a short period of time, or the cost and process of an organisation's self-recruitment option have not provided the results expected.

In short, the experienced temporary candidate can provide a short-term solution to an urgent requirement. This can be unexpected absence, illness, sabbatical or holiday cover and can generally be flexible in working patterns bringing past relevant experience to the role. The contract worker can be engaged for a set fixed term which can give peace of mind to organisations that an experienced candidate can provide the support they are looking for.

Oakleaf Partnership has certainly seen an increase in the need to recruit experienced short-term personnel. In the markets I cover, Charity, Higher Education, Housing, and Membership bodies, the tradition was for support to be on hand at regular times throughout the year (mid-January to Easter, May to July and September to the start of December). However, with candidates proving to be a valuable asset, the trend has extended to a year-round support across the organisations we partner with and the short term option is outgrowing the permanent solution.

In the past 12 months, 49% of new opportunities have been of a temporary and fixed term contract nature which has attracted more experienced candidates looking for interim positions. While a number of opportunities have been of a specialist nature such as Recruitment, Learning & Development and Employee Relations, over 50% have been tagged as “generalist” which shows the adaptability of candidates being entrusted to cover in times of need.

As the trend for interim support appears to have grown over the past 12 months, organisations have engaged this as a viable solution to traditional recruitment methods where the trust of candidates performing beyond expectations is now relied upon.

Related articles

How do you really tell if you should be a contractor or an employee? The article below raises some interesting discussion around this with potential changes coming to the method this is determined. Also the instances of the HMRC opening cases against contractors is at the lowest level in years. Is this an indication that the system has largely worked thus far and most contractors are now getting it right from the start?

A new survey of 225 HR interim workers by Oakleaf Partnership shows that an improving permanent HR labour market is likely impacting the volume of temporary roles available. Additionally, over a third of respondents also said there were more fixed term contract (FTC) roles and less day rate roles av

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