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Over the past few decades, how we work and who we employ has undergone rapid change due to increased globalisation, digital transformation and the impact of IR35. Over the past decade, the workforce has seen an increased blend of those in permanent, full-time roles and more ‘non-traditional’ forms of employment such as temporary and contract jobs. While more flexible ways of working seem to have tempted typically permanent employees to contract roles, the implication of IR35 rule changesi n early 2021 and the uncertainty of Covid-19 has also led to an increased number of contract workers seeking more secure, permanent positions.

As of 2021, there are an estimated 1.2 billion freelancers and temporary workersacross the globe with some of the most popular contractor roles including Devops Engineer, Product Manager and Software Engineer.

The key differences between permanent and contract workers

Permanent workers or full-time employees are brought onboard by companies as complete hiring solutions and are the most ‘traditional’ form of employment. Permanent workers are typically hired to help businesses to grow and develop their resources, while people may look for permanent roles for job security and long-term career progression.

Contractors on the other hand are individuals hired by employers on a fixed-term basis, usually to complete individual contracts or projects. Unlike permanent staff who are paid salaries and may have access to company benefits, contractors are typically paid an hourly or daily rate and may not have the same benefits as they are not a full-time company employee.

Why choose permanent staff?

There are several great reasons to hire a permanent employee including:

  • Long-term relationship building and the ability to create a stable, strong team 

  • Having staff that are more invested in future success and growth plans for the company

  • Workers who are familiar with processes in the event of crisis/loss of other staff

  • Greater loyalty to the business

  • More reliability and commitment to typical working hours

Permanent staff do have some downsides, however, including:

  • Greater long-term costs for permanent staff due to salaries, insurance and support

  • The potential need for extensive training to make them an ideal fit for the role or able to accept greater responsibilities

Why use contractors?

There are many pros of utilising contractors and they can be an invaluable addition to a company for:

  • Short-term cover for periods of staff absence e.g. maternity or paternity leave

  • Greater flexibility to meet your work requirements without long-term commitment 

  • Providing specialist skillsets and knowledge for specific projects 

  • Potentially more cost-effective for short-term projects

  • Allows your core staff to focus on other areas of the business

  • Contractors have fewer worker rights

Potential cons of using contractors:

  • There is less loyalty to the company and contractors may work on several roles at once

  • Lack of reliability and commitment if they have more flexible working arrangements 

  • May not always be available during standard hours

  • The business does not grow or benefit long-term from their specialist skills

When it comes to making the right choice for your business, it can be helpful to consider some key factors around budget, work requirements and project duration to see if a permanent employment is needed or if a contractor can be used. 

At Gravitas we have an extensive network of skilled professionals looking for long-term and contract positions across the Technology, Insurance, Actuarial and Public Sectors. Get in touch with our specialist consultants today to find the right hiring solutions for you.

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