Managing your Talent Supply in a Downturn – The Case for Contracting

Michael Gorman

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Managing your Talent Supply in a Downturn – The Case for Contracting

Speaking to the numerous Financial Services Talent teams in Dublin on a daily basis I’ve broadly noticed two topics emerge from my discussions. The first is the impact the market uncertainty is having on putting long term recruitment plans in place. The second is that businesses still have talent requirements and employment needs to fill, but the current climate is making it difficult to bring these positions to the market. This blog will take a look at contracting and how it can help overcome these obstacles and possibly be the perfect solution for your company.

In broad terms, we talk about employment contracts in two ways, those that are permanent and those that are contracted or temporary. The former is relatively straight forward, a contract is issued, and the individual becomes a direct and permanent employee of the business.

On the contracting/temping side, there are multiple short-term solutions. Temp work, for example, usually covers short periods with high volumes of work or is for holiday cover. Fixed-term contracts are where individuals typically become employed for a predetermined period such as maternity cover. And then we have Daily Rate contracting, which refers to engaging services at a rate agreed on a daily basis. In this instance, the individual is not directly employed by the company but is contracted, almost like a third-party provider.

There are many reasons why this option makes sense for the individual. These contracts will typically pay more than permanent roles and they’ll often suit the life cycle of the work such as in Project Management or Remediation. This can be a great way for individuals to gain exposure to multiple businesses in a short period of time. Such roles can be very fulfilling upon completion on a professional level and as they are often project-based, and a personal level as the individual gains multi-company experience and a larger professional network.

Many businesses draw heavily from the contracting market as there are some great advantages for the employer. For companies which relied exclusively on permanent positions previously, the current market conditions could be the perfect catalyst for them to think about changing to hire contract workers, and here’s why.

Flexibility: Where there is volatility in your operating market, it can be a challenge to plan your talent requirements for an indefinite timeframe. Considering the contracting option limits exposure to the business over the long term, by providing flexibility if the market deteriorates.

Social Benefit: In times of uncertainty the long-term commitments of hiring permanent workers can dissuade businesses from making hires at all. Contracting is a way for the business to provide employment in the market which has a knock-on benefit to the economy at large and keeps workflows from stalling.

Retraining Staff: We have seen some firms make the admirable decision of guaranteeing jobs through this period. In a downturn, this usually means that new positions need to be filled internally, which requires restructuring business units and retraining of staff. Contract workers can bring in specialised skills on a short-term basis to fill the business needs while retraining is happening.

Project Work: Again, now more than ever businesses are looking at how they are doing things and are learned to work smarter. Strategies and processes are being revised. Bringing in support from the contract market means that you’ll have the right expertise for the right period of time, and this level of project efficiency could be the way forward.

Ultimately for those businesses not already engaging contractors, it is an opportune time to see how you can bring in business support and specialised skills to support the immediate and irregular needs of your business in the current climate. The team here at Engage People would be happy to chat you through any questions about how this process could work for you, and introduce you to the kind of talent that is readily available in the current contracting market.