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Why Contracting Roles are Overtaking Permanent Positions

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How has this global health pandemic changed the hiring process, and how, if at all, will talent acquisition evolve?

This time last year, contracting was not being considered by the majority of job seekers. Fast forward to 2021 and there has been a complete U-turn. Not only has the pandemic changed the way we interview and recruit new candidates, it has also led to a complete upheaval in the make-up of the jobs sector.

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt right across the globe and has affected most industries in some way. Business owners are now focusing on ways to stay productive in the face of unparalleled challenges; managing staff procedures, increasing or reducing headcount, and maintaining productivity have become a remote process for many.

This time last year our books were full of permanent roles. Now, we have far fewer permanent roles to fill and a rapidly increasing number of temporary and contracting positions. We also have a very high number of skilled candidates looking for jobs, many of whom are faced with the frustration of there being so few permanent posts available. Companies can’t and won’t commit to hiring permanent staff, such is the uncertainty of the market right now. At the end of 2020 we were able to report that permanent roles had fallen by a staggering 61% in one year with the contracting market on the rise during this time.

However, with the pandemic not going anywhere any time soon, and the need for business to go on in some shape or form for most, recruitment must so too continue. And it will, but in a completely different form.

Contracting outside the box

One piece of advice for candidates is to start thinking about other career options that may not have been on their radar at all, but are equally lucrative. We firmly believe that contracting work should now be given priority by jobseekers. Those are the positions employers are now offering at a time when they have urgent, sometimes unforeseen, demands to be met. These types of roles can offer fantastic benefits including flexibility, high daily our hourly rates, and be an ideal foot in the door allowing you to try out another industry without committing permanently.”

There are also certainly some positives to be taken from current trends and that’s what we need to focus on where we can. At our Matrix offices in Waterford, Carlow, Athlone, and Dublin, we are seeing an uplift in recruitment in sectors such as pharma, R&D, food services and traditional manufacturing. These sectors have seen steady growth this year.

Transferrable skills in contracting

People who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic should not lose heart and instead, look at what transferrable skills they have that they can bring to another employer or sector.

Many jobseekers might not even be aware that their skills are a fit for another sector. If you have worked in hospitality, for example, you are likely to have exceptional customer service and organisational skills, both of which are highly sought after in other industries. For anyone who is not sure where to start, a recruitment professional will help determine your transferable skills. The first step is to be open to these opportunities.

Working just to get noticed

For candidates who have been lucky enough to start new roles recently, there are also some emerging challenges. Career progression barriers are very real for them, especially as many are working from home, it is very likely they will have to work twice as hard just to get noticed. Promotions have been stalled in general for many organisations due to the impact of the pandemic but there are other ways companies can reward the efforts of staff.

Now is the time for business owners to get a bit more creative when it comes to looking after staff. For most companies, good staff are their most valuable asset and it’s important to look at ways to continue to inspire them and maintain a positive working environment. Things like a blended work set-up for employees, additional paid leave or increased pension contributions are potential alternatives that will aid in the retention of quality staff and in the attraction of new applicants when it comes to hiring.

The future of recruitment

The recruitment landscape has changed significantly in Ireland and across the globe. Remote working, distributed workforces, and a greater demand for flexibility are all factors affecting how businesses and candidates think about work opportunities. If business owners can take these lessons from the last (almost) year, and adjust their hiring processes accordingly, they will do just fine in continuing to attract the right candidates.

• Jobseekers should consider the contract and temporary roles ahead of permanent posts as pandemic hits the jobs sector
• Permanent jobs down 61% compared to this time last year
• COVID-19 impact on recruitment and on why contracting roles are overtaking permanent positions