Just like global disruptive events before it, COVID-19 has left many organisations grappling with financial uncertainty and frozen headcounts. On the flip side, the pandemic has forced businesses to completely rethink and adapt business models that require significant manpower and flexibility.

During this time of uncertainty, contracting solutions can be an attractive prospect. “This staffing option offers the opportunity to quickly hire someone with specialist skills to fill a short-term need, without the long-term overheads of bringing a permanent employee on board,” explains Marlinda Zulkifli, Head of Page Contracting Malaysia.

Contract work, or the ‘gig economy’ as it is also known, has been on the rise in recent years. Our Talent Trends 2021 report found that employer demand is stronger for flexible work arrangements and contract workers — a trend that is likely to continue growing, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

Related: Should you hire a contractor for your company? 

Here are the major benefits organisations see from employing contract workers, both during and after times of global disruption.

1. Find and onboard employees quickly

Contractors can offer a quick solution to any skills shortages within an organisation, particularly when there are specialist skills involved.

Due to the nature of their work, experienced contractors are often available to start at short notice — which is particularly important given the rapid pace of change in the business world as a result of the pandemic. They may be able to onboard and deliver work faster than a permanent employee, who would need to give notice to their existing employer.

The right contractors are also highly skilled in their field of expertise. They provide an immediate solution to skills shortages, without the need for on-the-job training.

Looking to hire contractors? Start a hiring conversation with us now.

2. Provides greater speed and flexibility

It is not uncommon for the need for headcount to shift rapidly in conjunction with the changing needs of a business. During and post-COVID-19, this factor is more crucial than ever. As organisations adapt to new business models and readjust their processes, the need for agility and flexibility is essential.

In a volatile market with a high degree of uncertainty, short-term contractors provide the ideal opportunity to assess market shifts and organisational needs on an ongoing basis, rather than committing to new employees permanently. Contract workers support lean business planning, which allows businesses to respond with greater speed and flexibility to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

3. Trial new employees or positions

Hiring a new staff member requires significant up-front investment and can be time-consuming. Hiring potential permanent workers initially on a contract basis allows a business to assess how that individual will fit within their company environment and culture. During the contract period, managers can determine whether a candidate is a good fit for the job.

In one way, this serves as a temporary test period to see if another headcount is truly needed. In others, it is a method to test out a new role and how that role would integrate with the rest of the teams.

Hiring contractors as a way to trial potential employees has become an increasingly common solution when it comes to senior positions, such as C-suite roles, too. 

“As C-suite roles command high compensation packages and are in such a influential position, companies want to know they are hiring the right person for the position; they tend to test out a candidate and observe how this candidate fits into the position before converting him or her to a full-time position,” explains Marlinda.

Related: Tackling mental health and well-being at the executive level

4. Give employees shorter notice periods

If an organisation needs to suddenly pivot or experiences a dramatic change, temporary workers don’t require the same notice period as permanent employees. Shorter notice periods mean headcount can be adjusted to suit the changing business needs swiftly, which will be paramount during and after the pandemic.

5. It has a positive impact on the bottom line

Hiring contractors can protect a company’s bottom line precisely at the moment when the bottom line is crucial. Contractors are only paid for the hours worked, without the need for performance rewards, annual leave, or company bonuses.

At the same time, contractors are often paid on a per-project basis. This means businesses pay for productivity and outcomes, rather than for a set number of hours in a week.

Looking to hire contractors? Start a hiring conversation with our contract hiring expert and get in touch with us here.

Read more:
How does Michael Page attract the best talent for your business?
5 interview questions to ask to tell a great candidate from a good one
Why an effective onboarding process is more important than you think

Join over 60,000 readers!
Receive free advice to help give you a competitive edge in your career.