The popularity of contracting and temporary work in Australia is expected to increase, as employers recognise the benefits of adopting this type of employment, as part of their business recovery plans.

The new Michael Page Talent Trends 21 report, which compiled the responses of over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees across APAC, revealed 23% of Australian companies are prioritising short-term contractors or temporary hires in their 2021 recruitment strategy.

The report found the impact of COVID-19 and the related market uncertainty had accelerated the demand for flexible and agile staffing solutions.

RELATED: Hiring picks up across APAC as businesses adapt recruitment plans 

Encouragingly, more businesses recognised the many advantages of hiring contract, interim or temporary workers, finding that contracting can be the solution to headcount limits or hiring project teams with the benefit of saving costs and improving workforce flexibility, it said.

Sharmini Wainwright, Senior Managing Director at PageGroup noted: “While temporary work and contracting opportunities were established in Australia well before COVID-19, we saw its acceleration due to the pandemic’s impact on hiring plans. 

“As it became an attractive and viable alternative to permanent jobs amid the uncertainty, we expect a continuation of its popularity and it remains an ongoing area of focus for us.”

A PwC paper also supports this trend, with 46% of HR professionals expecting at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2022.

The Talent Trends 21 report provides insights into what businesses and employees experienced in 2020, practical learnings, market insights for key sectors and what is expected in 2021 including salary expectations. Click the image below to download the full report.

The benefits of hiring contractors

The ongoing business uncertainty and gradual economic recovery means many companies still have their permanent recruitment plans on pause. As a result, some businesses have pivoted to hiring contractors and temporary staff, as a way to adapt to the changing conditions. 

Here are four key advantages of non-permanent recruitment:

  • Fast impact: Contractors can provide immediate solutions
  • Short notice periods: Contractors can often commence work or start on projects as soon as tomorrow, or even same-day turnaround
  • Financial savings: Proven to be cost-effective strategy and can provide relief to your bottom line in the long run
  • Trial new roles: You can trial a potential permanent role as a contractor to ensure the right fit

It’s important to note that contractors are typically hired for short-term work. Therefore, this form of employment will have unique challenges, such as integrating company culture for non-perm staff. However, the short-to-mid-term benefits they provide, particularly in the current climate, tend to outweigh these concerns.

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