Due to tough economic times, larger companies are increasingly hiring high-level STEM expertise on a contract basis. Most are striving to align with key global megatrends such as digitalization and must continue to follow existing strategies to stay ahead of the competition in fiercely competitive markets.
These megatrends, which also include the future of work, research-led healthcare, and decarbonization, mean that while larger companies are postponing some projects to re-evaluate, they retain a laser focus on long-term goals. They know they must hire contractors for strategic work programs at a time when smaller companies are coming under pressure to reduce their workforces.
But it’s not just major strategic projects where contractors are making their value felt. They are also being used to fill STEM skills gaps at a time when companies are wary of hiring full-time staff. Our colleagues in the DACH and UK&I region, for example, the report continued high demand for contractors in sectors like logistics, life sciences and engineering.
It’s not just major strategic projects where contractors are making their value felt. They are also being used to fill STEM skills gaps at a time when companies are wary of hiring full-time staff.
This demand has so far meant that employers are prepared to keep rates stable despite the difficult economic conditions. Some imagine that paying the best rate will inevitably bring them the best contract talent but that isn’t necessarily the case. It can be hard to recruit if a project doesn’t capture the contractor’s imagination because STEM professionals want to work on interesting projects with the latest equipment to increase their value in the long term.
Benefits of flexible staffing solutions
Most organizations were already pivoting towards greater use of contract staff before recent events plunged the global economy into difficult territory. While the global outlook seems bleak, employers have options when it comes to hiring. They can hire sought-after specialists in STEM with the exact skills they need for a limited time while streamlining costs because they don’t have to pay for social security or agree exit terms.
The rapid pace of workplace change has also encouraged companies to use more contractors. While permanent staff are needed for a small number of strategic STEM positions, companies often avoid hiring large numbers whose expertise may no longer be needed in a few short years. Why hire 200 permanent Java developers, for example, if they may only be needed for two or three years? If the company moves away from Java, all of those people would need to be retrained, so better to hire them as contractors.
Suppose a company implements SAP but after a few years decides to return to Oracle. Those employees with SAP expertise would no longer be required and would present a dilemma for the company. Either they would have to be let go or re-trained. This scenario is encouraging more companies to cover their STEM needs with flexible contract staff.
Changing demographics have also fueled the trend towards greater use of contract staff because employers see it as a way of retaining skills as our aging society begins to see large numbers of people leaving the workforce. While this presents a risk to employers, many of these people are open to returning to work on a contract basis after retiring.
Changing demographics have also fueled the trend towards greater use of contract staff because employers see it as a way of retaining skills as our aging society begins to see large numbers of people leaving the workforce.
The growing need for contractors means that many companies are turning to strategic recruitment partners who have a deep understanding of their specific needs and wide networks of contract staff who can meet their requirements. This smooths the process of hiring on-demand STEM expertise and ensures they always have the right people when they need them.Discover how we can help you today
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