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Maximising the value of contractors

The latest Robert Walters Whitepaper, Maximising the Value of Contractors, provides key insights on why you should hire contractors, expectations of the recruitment process and how you can get the most from the skills that contractors provide.

Based on surveys of both individual contractors and those that employ them, the whitepaper provides a valuable resource for employers looking to maximise the value of their contract workforce.

Download the white paper here. 

The main benefits of contractors

According to the results of our survey, employers are most likely to value contractors for their skills and specialist knowledge - with 76% of employers citing this as a leading reason for hiring, an opinion shared by 53% of contractors.

47% of employers also say contractors are a useful and cost effective method to bridge shortages in headcount or skills gaps. Nearly a third have an eye on longer term benefits, noting this as an ideal way of judging who to hire on a ‘temp-to-perm’ basis.

For contractors, a significant minority (17%), say that their value lies in determining results - suggesting that, for some, the attraction of contract work is linked to a talent for driving solutions to specific goals. 

High pay levels (51%), the freedom to manage one’s own tax and financial affairs (40%) and flexibility are also some of the biggest drawcards for contractors right now. 

How long should contracts run for?

The majority of employers and contractors agree that the most common length of contract is between nine months and a year,  reflecting the recognition of a ‘bedding down period’ to complete the project, particularly for technical or complex contracts. Overall, contractors are typically more averse to short term deals, with only 2% preferring contracts between one and three months. 

47% of employers also say contractors are a useful and cost effective method to bridge shortages in headcount or skills gaps.

Results also show a trend for contracts to last longer depending on the size of the organisation, with 70% of companies with over 50,000 employees preferring contracts of six months or more and 53% of SMEs preferring 3-6 month contracts. 

The recruitment & interview process

More than 80% of employers and contractors are in agreement that their preferred hiring channel is a recruitment consultancy. Whilst a near consensus exists among employers and contractors that two interviews are best, 38% feel one is enough and only around one in ten expect three interviews or more.

The length of time between application and hire typically brings about very different expectations between contractors and hiring managers, with 28% of contractors expecting a time to hire of one week or less, compared to 6% of employers.

The induction process

Our survey revealed that the induction stage is where we see the biggest discrepancies in expectations between employers and contractors. 40% of contractors say they have experienced inductions that are incomplete, badly conducted, or even non-existent, with technology logins and adequate colleague introductions cited as the most common hurdles.

While almost 90% of employers say they introduce contractors to line managers - with nearly 50% circulating letters or emails of the news to all relevant members of staff, 37% of contractors complain of poor communication with colleagues and managers. 

The complete whitepaper also covers;

  • Contractor motivation 
  • Payment of contract staff
  • Completion bonuses and 
  • Contractor retention rates


Download the full whitepaper here.

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