While once used primarily to provide headcount flexibility, temporary staff and contract workers are fast becoming an integral part of many businesses.
Based on the results of its 2016 salary guide, global recruitment giant Hays found 21 per cent of employers expect to increase their use of temporary staff and contract staff during the next 12 months.
With just 12 per cent of businesses planning to decrease their use of temporary staff, the net increase in demand is good news for contingent workers.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data puts the percentage of Australia’s contingent workforce – which includes freelancers, temps, contractors, independent contractors, consultants and on-hire individuals – at 28 per cent of the total workforce.
The industries that can expect the greatest increases in temporary staff and contract job numbers are:
- engineering departments (31 per cent);
- IT (29 per cent);
- project management (25 per cent);
- operational management and purchasing/procurement (both 23 per cent);
- distribution (22 per cent); and
- human resources and sales (both 20 per cent).
The guide also includes salary and recruiting trends for more than 1000 positions and is based on a survey of 2752 organisations, representing more than 2.6 million employees in Australia and New Zealand.
“In recent years, temporary staff and contractors have been used primarily to offer headcount flexibility,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. “But today they are sought to be part of and support an existing team, work on projects and to add particular expertise to a department.
“Given the shortage of highly skilled professionals and rising business activity, temporary staff and contractors will certainly see a greater need for their skills in the year ahead.”
Additionally, the guide found 23 per cent of employers use temporary staff or contract workers on an ongoing basis, while 46 per cent use them for special projects or when workloads are becoming unmanageable for existing staff.
Why should you hire temporary staff?
While temporary staff won’t be the right fit for every organisation or situation, there are certainly benefits to the arrangement that should give human resources professionals food for thought.
Kevin Mason, manager of business development for Genesis HR Solutions and noted human resources expert and author, lists the following reasons to consider hiring temporary staff:
- It’s a faster process: Pick up the phone today, and you could have someone in your office tomorrow morning to fill an open role.
- There is less risk: Hiring someone who doesn’t work out can be devastating for a company. If a temporary worker isn’t panning out for some reason, one simple call can end the relationship with very minimal risk involved.
- It can save you money: The hourly rate paid for a temporary worker might be more than pay for a permanent employee, but the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training add up fast.
- Try before you buy: A temporary worker does not need to stay that way; if you are chuffed with their performance, you can offer them a permanent position, which they will be able to fill much more smoothly than someone new to the job.