Contractor challenges and opportunities

As we navigate through uncertain times, there are certain challenges and opportunities facing both employers and employees. However, for those workers who aren’t in permanent employment, their circumstances might be slightly different than the norm. Contract recruitment makes up a large part of the Australian workforce, and so we wanted to find out exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our contract workers. Here’s what insights our consultants at Progressive have gathered from speaking to contractors and contract candidates over the past few weeks, plus some advice on how they can make the best of this challenging situation..


  • The fear of the unknown...

With many companies experiencing cutbacks and projects being put on hold or delayed, contractors are fearful that they will be the first staff to be let go. It may be somewhat easier for businesses to cut their hours or lose them rather than a permanent employee, however, this is not a certainty depending on their skill set. As many contractors are self-employed, they may not be entitled to certain state benefits if they lose their current contract, which can accelerate the feeling of uncertainty. This is also the case in terms of unique benefits from companies, such as termination pay. Those that are starting new contracts may find the onboarding and induction process difficult when done so remotely, especially if the company is within a new industry for them. The general consensus is that many contractors have now found themselves out of work or with projects ending much sooner than they anticipated and that their contract work is now being seen as not essential or business-critical at the moment.


  • It’s important to bear in mind…

As is the case when it comes to all industries and job types, it’s crucial to remember that this is just temporary and that this period of time won’t last forever. When the current climate settles, the contract landscape will be full of new projects and candidates will have their pick of choices as businesses accelerate productivity in order to get back to normal. Contractors are generally flexible, and so they will have the ability to jump from project to project when businesses resume as usual. At the moment, some companies have implemented a hiring freeze for permanent staff, but as they need some essential roles filled are still keen to hire contractors for relief in light of this current situation, even for a short time period. Those who are lucky enough to fall into this category can sometimes charge a higher rate than usual for their services to compensate for the lack of benefits and security available to them during the pandemic.


  • Seeking opportunities….

Although there may be a lull in activity, contractors can still use this time to network and build connections within the workplace. LinkedIn is a great place to start. Think of this as a chance to do some all-important business planning, getting your CV and LinkedIn profile up to date and your portfolio in order. You could also use it as a chance to upskill, by using sites such as Skill share making online learning easier than ever and allowing you to brush up on relevant skills to add to your CV. You can adapt to the online way of working, as many other businesses have done, by maybe offering virtual coaching or consulting in your areas of expertise via Zoom or a similar online platform. Think about what you can offer post-pandemic, and how you can go about honing your own personal brand or offering so that you can adapt to the new climate and possibly offer a more niche service in the long run.


Are you a contractor who is looking for advice or seeking a new opportunity? Progressive Recruitment can help. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will respond as quickly as possible to meet your needs.

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