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30% of workforce will be contractors, say Australian employers

Business people having meeting in conference room. (Getty)
Business people having meeting in conference room. (Getty)

Employers around the world are gearing up for a future with a mixed workforce of both full-time and contract or project-based workers.

Recruitment agency Robert Half surveyed 3,800 business leaders across 12 countries and found a staggering majority — 97 per cent — saw the benefits of adopting a more flexible recruitment approach.

Greater control over staffing and recruitment costs was named as the foremost benefit (36 per cent), followed by support for long-term absences (34 per cent) and better management of fluctuations in workload (32 per cent).

Global employers are aiming for a 66:34 split between permanent and temporary workers by 2023, while Aussie hiring managers are predicting a 70:30 split.


Why the pivot?

According to Robert Half, there are “several” factors driving employers’ increasingly rosy view of the gig economy. One of them is new technology, such as collaboration tools, that is facilitating a more flexible approach to projects and workloads.

“The gig economy is crucial for addressing businesses’ demands for greater flexibility, both today and in the future,” said Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris.

Another factor is the difficulty involved in acquiring a specific set of skills on a permanent basis.

“Growing technological complexity is changing businesses, requiring more specialist and hard-to-find skills,” Morris added.

“And with traditional job roles evolving rapidly, businesses need to adopt more flexible approaches to recruitment to find the right balance of skills.

“Contract workers are essential for scaling any business and ensuring a contingency workforce. With the growing split of permanent and contract workers, employers need to ensure they are maximising the benefits of the professional gig economy and embracing the long-term strategic gains that temporary workers provide, such as increased staffing flexibility, access to skills, and better management of workload fluctuations.”

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