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We won’t go over well-trodden ground, but we can’t ignore the fact that we’re living in uncertain times at the moment. With fears over the cost-of-living, energy prices and global conflict, it’s understandable that businesses will be planning for all eventualities.   

One area where there is likely to be particular concern in the coming years is the overall robustness of the job market. Skills shortages have been impacting the UK with record numbers of vacancies being reported earlier this year. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) there were 1.18 million positions waiting to be filled in December  2022, nearly 500,000 more than before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.   

 

Troubled economy  

Combined with these seemingly embedded skills shortages within the workforce, is the wider economic situation. It’s no secret that the UK is approaching a recession, and in turbulent times, it’s critical to maintain levels of service, regardless of broader challenges and hiring crises that may be impacting your operational ability.  Some industries are clearly worse off than others; British Airways and other airlines’ staffing nightmares over the summer reflect deep rooted issues that are unlikely to be solved in the short term. However, one solution that many employers have turned to, and will continue to in the future, is the gig economy and wider flexible workforce. 

There are clear benefits to utilising independent contractors and contingent professionals, particularly in challenging times. Firstly, employers are likely to be unwilling to commit to increasing their headcount when finances are tight and looking to the specialist skills of the contingent workforce can help to solve issues quickly and without the permanent commitment to investing in pensions, workplace training, and the other costs that come from onboarding permanent employees. In addition, businesses can gain from increased flexibility and efficiency and reduce the time it takes to plug potentially costly gaps, as well as benefitting from bringing in new perspectives and professionals with often versatile and extensive track records.  

 

Growing demand  

Indeed, the latest APSCo trend report revealed a 71% increase in the number of contractor roles added to staffing agency databases, compared to a 48% rise in permanent jobs, from August 2020 to August 2022.  This is indicative of the growing reliance on the temporary workforce in the absence of permanent resources. The statistics further revealed that contract revenue for staffing firms is a higher rate than previous months, suggesting that employers are having to invest more to attract these highly skilled flexible workers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s not easy to attract contractors at the best of times, let alone when more and more employers are looking to recruit the same professionals. Realistically, to get the skills needed to remain profitable and fully operational, firms will have to work hard to succeed.  

 

Factors to consider when hiring contingent workers 

While we’ve clarified that the flexible, contract and contingent workforce can be highly valuable to businesses, particularly during turbulent periods, there are factors to consider. Resourcing and managing a contingent workforce can be extremely costly and time-consuming, and the added burden of managing multiple suppliers and systems, can lead to inaccurate reporting and lack of clear processes. And with compliance of your flexible workforce – and the associated risks of getting it wrong – a significant concern, it’s not something you can afford to push down your priority list.  

Underpinned by innovative technology, Omni provides a streamlined and consistent managed service from sourcing right through to invoicing, minimising risk, maximising compliance all at a lower cost whilst saving time  

With a specialist resourcing team that will find and manage contractors directly as well as continually build your CVP through dedicated  management of agency partners and contingent workers, Omni’s Managed Serviced Provider model offers just one point of contact for all agency requests, removing the administrative burden of managing multiple suppliers and candidates away from in-house teams. 

We’ll work with you from the outset to understand your business, culture and values and your requirements for contingent labour, reviewing any existing agency relationships and engaging with the most appropriate suppliers from our existing network., We will ensure only those suppliers that best meet your specific needs are selected.

 

Find out more about Resource in Motion, resource management for an agile workforce, here.