The job seeker culture is changing. Work-life balance, flexibility, skills growth, earnings potential and a better CV seems to be more important to some than a career. Project-based roles where specialist skills are in demand are attracting job-seekers to the contract world. Contingent, contract or interim staffing represent a flexible method where specialists are engaged when needed, ranging in lifecycles from 6 to 36 months. Despite the uncertainty that came with Brexit, and the IR35 legislation affecting both private and public sectors from April 2020, contract work has continued to strengthen in the UK, and particularly across Astute's core areas in Power, Construction, Renewable Energy, Nuclear, Defence, Waste, Water and Manufacturing.
Paul Martin, Astute’s Business Development Director, believes that several factors drive contingent staffing. Skills shortages exist in all areas of high-level white-collar consultants. Paul suggests the market is much more open and flexible, even when a candidate is in a permanent position.
Every so often people want a change, maybe due to life reasons, or because they need a career break. Gaining a bit of career perspective allows them to gain invaluable experience that staying in their existing role might not. It will also improve the look of their CV no end. I, myself, did an 18-month stint as a Consultant before returning to a permanent position, making 100% sure it was the right one before doing so!
Historical figures suggest that contracting both supports the UK during growth, but sometimes forgotten, thrives during a recession. Data provided by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of engineering contractors in the UK increased by over two-thirds in recent years. These statistics reveal that the number of contractors rose by 68% between 2011-2016. The increase in flagship projects such as Hinkley Point C coupled with skills shortages has enabled job-seekers to have more choice - and the appeal of contracting is obvious.
Contracting works for both clients and candidates. The skills shortage can be managed by strategic hiring through contract work, as employees with in-demand skill sets can be difficult to find and hire, in particular, quickly. By partnering with recruiters who specialise in contract work, a client can better position themselves to capture talent. Paul explains:
We've continued to invest in new headcount in our Contract Division to keep up with the increased demand. In addition, we've invested in sophisticated AI-based sourcing tools allowing us to search multiple candidate channels simultaneously. Since adopting this technology, we've been able to quickly find exactly the right highly-skilled people and our clients have seen a drastically reduced time-to-fill, hence less project slippage!
So, if you’re thinking of taking the leap into the world of contract work or just want to know more about the sector, why not book a call or meeting with Paul here? We have a number of Contract roles in the UK with some of our most well-known multinational clients, albeit they’re never on our website for long!