It’s the start to a volatile year on the political front for those living here in the UK. The “B” word is dominating the headlines. And suffice to say, the job market in some areas is lacking commitment as we launch into 2019. If the Prime Minister doesn’t know what the future of this country is going to look like, then how can hiring managers? The rise of contract work is happening…
How are hiring managers tackling uncertainty?
Instead of thinking long-term, HR and decision makers are turning to short term contractors, freelancers and temporary staff. According to a study by the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide, 1.6 million UK businesses plan to hire temporary or contract work staff in the next twelve months.
There are other factors that contribute to this short term hiring trend. As technology advances new skills need to be brought in to companies to close the skills gaps. Existing employees tend to stick to what they know, and often that leads to them being technologically left behind. A younger workforce, more at ease with the latest technological advances, is well placed to step in and bring the organisation up to speed. This is particularly common in data-driven or AI based roles, jobs that wouldn’t have existed 10 or even 5 years ago.
This flexible approach to hiring means that the risks are limited – companies can scale up or scale down dependent on their requirements and at short notice, without having to give long-term employees the chop.
And where there’s demand, comes supply…
There are over 2 million freelancers in the UK alone (and rising).
At the end of last year, despite Brexit and economic uncertainty, the national employment rate fell to 4.1%, its lowest since 1975. This is despite the UK’s hiring rates slowing down, and business growth being put largely on pause. How? The growth of contract work.
If you’re open to change, then the rise of the gig economy gives you the chance to try something different. Perhaps to utilise your skills in a different environment or industry, or work in a different part of the company.
So what does this mean for candidates?
If you’re facing redundancy or a change in career, then think about repackaging yourself. Instead of looking only for long-term opportunities, why not consider contract work? Contract work is short-term, but contractors are generally highly paid and highly valued. Many candidates find it more interesting and challenging than normal roles! It also allows you greater flexibility than a long-term position.
More than a third of UK businesses are already using contractors to fill the skills gaps in their businesses, and that rate looks to rise in 2020. So why not embrace the change and make the most of the job market’s changing opportunities!
Contractors earn more.
There are no two ways about it. Contract work is better paid than the long-term employees. The pay is higher, they pay less in taxes, have less overheads and they get to deduct their expenses (all those coffees and train fares!). So a short-term position could be beneficial to your bank balance in the long run! And being a contractor isn’t as complicated as you might think. A survey conducted by health technology start-up WeMa Life found that 39% of full-time employees surveyed were put off contracting because they didn’t know how to raise invoices or take payments. Technology has revolutionised the world of self-employment. There are now apps to make tax returns, invoices, expenses and all other elements of business simple.
How could you repackage yourself for short-term contract work?
Consider what you could offer to a company looking for short-term hires. What skills do you bring to the table? When it comes to contracting, the focus is on the technical skills rather than the soft skills. The recruitment process for short-term hires is different to long-term hires, and often only involves one or two stages! Create a CV that (much like the recruitment process) is short and to the point, featuring your skills, achievements and career history to date. Make sure your CV is personalised for each application and then your success rate will be much higher finding contract work.
Let’s embrace the changing world of work.
The job market is changing (as is the EU). Candidates need to be flexible and change with the world of work and external influences. Look for the opportunities, adapt your search, and embrace the rise of the gig economy.
If you’d like help figuring out how to approach the world of contracting, get in touch!