According to the latest data from the ONS, there are currently 4.76 million self-employed people in the UK. Many of these are contractors, working across various sectors to provide temporary support to different organisations. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for and interest in contract placements has risen, owing to economic uncertainty and desire to continue developing.

Contract workers can add huge value to organisations, particularly when they are in possession of niche skills or experiences which companies only need for a short time. But, if you’ve never engaged with contract workers before, you may not know where to start. Below, we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions on contractor hiring.

Are contractors more expensive?

It can be easy to look at a contractor’s daily rate and assume that this means they will be more expensive than hiring a permanent employee. However, there are several considerations to make before determining which is more costly. While contractors typically command a higher ‘salary’ compared to their permanent counterparts, there a several things that the business engaging with them will not have to pay: sick leave, parental leave, holiday, pension contributions. The contractor will also be responsible for paying their own National Insurance contributions.

There are also fewer associated admin costs, and, should the placement not work out, the organisation does not need to go through the HR process and pay out one month’s notice. The contractor will not need to undergo extensive learning and development or be onboarded in the same way as a permanent employee. So, no, contractors are not inherently more expensive.

Why hire a contractor over a permanent employee?

In many scenarios, it is the right decision to hire a permanent employee. However, there are certain conditions that mean a contractor would be a better choice. For example:

  • Are you looking for a person with very specific experiences or niche skills?
  • Has this position been created due to a new project or short-term need?
  • Have you found it difficult to find the right person to take on the role permanently?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, then you’re probably better off with a contractor. They will add a huge amount of value in a short time to your organisation and will be much more affordable in the long term compared to a permanent employee with the same set of skills and experiences.

How do I find a contractor?

If you’ve never engaged with a contract employee before, it can be difficult to find the right person. Contractors depend on their networks to secure new roles and this can be a tight knit community, with plenty of competition for the top talent. Working with a recruiter with a specialism in the market you’re hiring in will help you gain instant access to these networks, immediately putting you in touch with experienced candidates who can have a huge impact upon your business.

Faulkner Scott’s consultants are highly experienced in their respective fields, with extensive contractor networks. For information and advice on engaging with contract workers, get in touch.