Employing a contractor: How we can help with recruiting contractors
Covid19 is likely to have a lasting impact on employment for months, if not years in some sectors. Whilst its effects and how long we will be in this remote working state are still yet unknown, one thing is for certain; there will be some excellent talent available to employers now and in the coming months.
The initial impact seems to be more evident on permanent recruitment but there is also a significant increase in the number of contractors who have had their contracts cut short. And with the extension to IR35, businesses can now reap the rewards of hiring contractors for the next 12 months.
For any business that has had made the very difficult decisions to let some staff go but is faced with some short term spikes in work, or if work is steadily increasing but the confidence isn’t quite there to warrant taking on people permanently, then recruiting contractors could offer a great solution.
We’ve even seen contractors on short-term contracts being brought in to train up junior members of the team (who are permanent). Which might seem odd, but you’re then only paying the higher costs of more experienced individuals on a short term basis, whilst gaining well-trained junior talent on lower salaries. This is a great, cost effective solution to building up teams in this current climate. There are many other benefits of hiring contract employees, read on to find out more.
The benefits of hiring contractors
1. It can be a money saver
When thinking about the cost of an employee vs. a contractor, hiring a contractor could actually reduce your long-term labour costs. Whilst contractors’ hourly or daily rates will probably be higher than a permanent employee, the overall costs of having them in the business are often a lot less (benefits packages are lower, taxes are lower). There’s also the added bonus of them not adding to your head count and not requiring an annual salary.
2. More flexibility when you employ a contractor
There’s also a lot more flexibility with having people on a rolling basis, which under these current conditions has its added benefits. Having a workforce that you can scale back very quickly should Covid19, or something similar, rear its ugly head again in the future, then your business can be a lot more fluid and quick to react. Employing a contractor also allows you to identify and assess whether a permanent position is required further down the line.
3. Quicker recruiting process
The recruitment of contractors is generally quicker, as contractors tend to be hired solely for certain skills with less consideration for long-term fit within the company.
4. Faster to onboard contract employees
The vast majority of contractors come with experience that is very closely, if not exactly, suited to the project they’re ‘employed’ to do. So it’s often a faster on-boarding process too (which is ideal if you’re working remotely) with a lot less hand-holding so there’s also less strain on resources and you could even save on training budgets and equipment, too. Whilst it’s important to make them feel welcome, you do not need to spend time acquainting them with every staff member and every system or process.
5. Specialised or niche skillset
Many employers would hire a contractor or temp staff for their expert knowledge or their highly niche skills. Having someone with this sort of expertise can significantly help the company to grow, improve and evolve.
6. Contractors are adaptable
Contractors tend to settle in quickly, as they’re accustomed to working with different personalities and in new environments. They can actually offer a fresh perspective and provide insight into how the business could operate more efficiently.
7. Make a great impression from the outset
As hiring contractors would usually be only on a temporary basis or for a shorter period of time than permanent hires, they know the importance of making an excellent impact from the moment they join.
The disadvantages of contract employment
If you’re looking to hire contractors, it’s also important to also consider the disadvantages of temporary employees:
1. The more niche the role, the higher the rates
The more niche the job role is and the higher the skillset required, the more expensive a contractor’s rates tend to be. Whilst this is also true for permanent employees, contractors’ rates can escalate very quickly.
2. Contractors like to move from job to job
It’s a large part of the reason they choose to be contractors. So you’re less likely to have them in the business for long periods of time which can make scaling businesses more difficult if you’re overly reliant on a workforce that isn’t with you for the long haul. This is often why they’re used in such large volumes within larger corporate companies.
But in the landscape that is now, smaller businesses might well prefer the flexibility that contractors offer over the consistency of the work force (or a mix between the two but more with contractors than might have been suitable before).
3. Contractors come with their preferred way of doing things
As every company is different, there can sometimes be a trade off between how work gets done vs fitting in with how the company would like to work, which doesn’t always work out for the best (or get the result the business was after). Many businesses would be able to name a time where using a contractor hasn’t worked out.
Things to consider when recruiting contractors
Rates of pay
Smaller / part time projects would probably benefit from an hourly rate whereas larger and longer projects would be weekly or monthly. You need to consider how contractors are going to get paid, who is going to pay them (intermediary), how they’re going to report their time (time sheets, tech platform and who is going to monitor those). Recruitment agencies, like Give A Grad A Go, will cover all this for a margin they would charge on top of the candidates’ costs.
Contracts and IR35
Before you look to hire a contractor you will also need to decide what type of contract you would like to offer them. For example, you might be offering a fixed-term contract or a casual employment contract. Another thing to consider is IR35, which is a new rule that has been enforced by HMRC to combat disguised employment. It is important to adhere to these rules as an employer to ensure that you are paying the correct amount of the tax and national insurance to avoid interest and penalty charges.
Sourcing and vetting
The contractor recruitment market is fast moving and, at times, it’s very competitive. Contractors, who are generally considered ‘self-employed’, don’t like to hang around for long when they’re looking for their next project so it would not be beneficial for employers starting to look and then drawing out the hiring process after. Candidate’s available will be likely to change fairly quickly (much faster than the perm market) and good contractors do tend to get multiple offers. So you’ll need to have the exact specification, vetting process and start dates all mapped out before you start, as well as knowing how you’re going to be searching and which agencies you’re going to be briefing to source the right candidates for you.
Contractor recruitment is big business because of the speed and depth of the market. In-house talent acquisition teams don’t have as much access to the fast moving candidate availability, so the support of a reliable agency with an extensive candidate database, will prove to be extremely valuable.
As with any hiring, whether it’s permanent or temporary, each business has to use the processes that will work for their individual business. There is no blanket solution that works for everyone. But, with so many businesses having gains so many advantages from using contractors, it is a business case that you should carefully consider if you haven’t implemented already.
If you’ve been looking for recruitment agencies for contractors, please get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help you hire the best talent.