Contractors earning more than permanent counterparts amid skills shortages

Monday 29 June 2015

Those contractors that have key strategic skills are earning more than their permanent counterparts in a climate where such talents are in short supply. Clients are prepared to invest more in obtaining the resources they need, such as hiring, in order to overcome issues of capacity and skills shortages, it is claimed.

A new report published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that 65 per cent of contractor clients pay such staff more than their permanent employees. The JobsOutlook for June 2015 document may therefore be interesting reading for anyone thinking of going into contracting.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said: "Candidate availability is extremely low and as a result more employers are offering lucrative short-term assignments, especially in fields such as engineering.

"Temporary work has historically been associated with the lower-skilled end of the jobs market, but we’re seeing the profile of agency workers change as more people choose to work in this way because of the pay and flexibility it offers."

The JobsOutlook report highlights a change in attitude towards contractors that has been seen in recent years. In the past they may have been seen as temporary staff brought in as manpower to cover absences, but now eight out of ten employers sees contractors as a way of obtaining specialist skills as and when they are needed.

An idea about the extent of the skills shortage was also laid bare in the REC document, as 97 per cent of the employers surveyed said they could not take on any more work without increasing staff numbers. This is good news for contractors securing work moving forward.

When it came specifically to the statistics on contractors, a further 97 per cent said they intended to maintain the same number or hire more in the next three months. So it looks like contractors are going to find themselves in high demand for the foreseeable future.

By Victoria McDonnell

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