Hays’ Jane Bamford examines why hiring temps has switched from a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to a solid recruitment strategy for many tech businesses.
I’ve been with Hays for more than 20 years and, in that time, I’ve witnessed a colossal increase in the demand for temporary hires, particularly within the last decade.
This widespread trend is no longer one driven solely by cost reduction or a reaction to sudden market fluctuations or business requirements as it once was.
Many now see their temp recruitment as a central facet of both their long-term staffing and indeed wider business strategy as they realise that the key to managing a successful workforce is having access to the right people with the right skills at the right time, or ‘talent on demand’.
Here’s why the recruitment of temps is seen as less of a knee-jerk reaction to the economic climate or immediate business needs.
Temps bring niche skills into your business
There is a common misconception that temporary workers are generally less experienced than permanent employees and so are recruited for more junior roles. This is not the case. Temps are now employed for all manner of occupations, right up to board level. Many temps fulfil highly specialised, niche roles that require an extensive skillset.
At Hays, for example, we provide many highly skilled contractors within the IT sector. These professionals are expected to learn new skills and keep up to date with the latest trends. An IT contractor needs to continually invest in their own business (themselves) to survive and prosper.
To be a successful temp, you need to be highly skilled at what you do, as your income is very much dependent on your performance – in contrast to permanent employees who could become complacent in a role after a certain period, but still be hard to exile from the business.
The appeal of temping is widening, fuelled by the changing demographics and the varying demands of the younger generations, and temping is now seen as an attractive way of working for professionals of all seniorities and skillsets.
Highly skilled and in-demand candidates such as tech workers are moving into the market as a result, mainly driven by attractive wages, beneficial tax breaks, longer holiday periods and greater all-round flexibility.
Temps boost productivity
Temps are usually brought in to work on a specific project and that is their sole focus. This means that they don’t have the distraction of other menial tasks or office politics that affect their permanent colleagues and so can get more done in less time.
The diligent attitude that temps tend to adopt towards their work – born out of the fact they are dependent on good recommendations in exchange for short periods of employment– not only has a positive direct impact on the bottom line but can also be an indirect positive influence on other permanent employees. Temps can also have a more direct effect on these staff by supporting those who are overstretched.
Temps bring a fresh perspective
What better way to introduce a continuous stream of fresh ideas into your organisation than to recruit highly proficient and experienced temporary workers throughout the year? These temps probably have extensive experience working on different projects from different companies across different industries.
This can open your business up to a whole wealth of expertise. ‘Groupthink’ is a wicked disease that affects many good organisations with low labour turnover. Hiring temps can be the perfect remedy.
Temps bring flexibility to your workforce
Temporary staff can be engaged and released at short notice, depending on the needs of your business or market. They can be used to supplement your workforce during sudden busy periods, new clients or departures of existing staff.
As mentioned earlier, flexible working is a benefit that younger working generation prioritise when job searching. Therefore, by employing temps and contractors, you are responding to this demand and demonstrating to prospective candidates that you are an employer of choice.
Temps save time and resources
The process for hiring temps through a recruiter is traditionally a lot quicker than onboarding a permanent employee. This is because there is less admin for the employer to do and the recruiter takes responsibility for most stages of the hiring process such as interviewing and reference checking.
While you should treat all of your employees with the same respect and kindness, temps are hired for technical skills and to deliver something specific, rather than long-term cultural fit. In other words, you will not have to take temps through the same rigorous onboarding process you would permanent employees.
Temps also save your business time as they can be quicker to find and more readily available than permanent hires. This means they are able to make an instant impact sooner.
Temps are trial employees
Finally, hiring a temp gives you the option of evaluating whether you have a long-term job requirement in a function and then whether you want to take that particular individual on full-time or not.
Supplementing your workforce with temporary workers can help boost productivity, innovation, employee satisfaction and, ultimately, the bottom line.
Hiring for temporary workers and hiring for permanent employees are two completely different processes, and so it’s imperative you create two entirely distinctive job specs.
With the demand for temp workers only set to increase, it’s crucial that your business puts in place a hiring strategy with these employees in mind so that you are equipped for the modern world of work.
By Jane Bamford
Jane Bamford is the EMEA technology director for Hays Technology. A version of this article previously appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.
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