The global pandemic of the last year has fundamentally changed the way we work, as well as our workplaces, understandably impacting both permanent and contract employees. At the same time, the new IR35 legislation has come into force in the contract sector in a bid to tackle tax avoidance for off-payroll working. You might expect that the combination of the two has hit the interim market hard, but in reality, there has been upward curve recently in contract activity, both from an employer and employee perspective. From our day-to-day experience recruiting for interim roles, here are the key reasons why:
For candidates inside of IR35
As the working from home phenomenon, coupled with the ongoing adoption of digital technology, has radically improved the work/life balance for many people, fixed-term contracts have become more attractive to a range of professionals. Not only have vast numbers of candidates been forced into a career rethink through redundancy and furlough, but multiple surveys have recently suggested that employees won’t hesitate to switch employers if the same flexible working options aren’t maintained in the future. This has also resulted in many employees choosing to quit their permanent positions and go freelance or become a career interim professional, to retain the flexibility they have become used to over the last year.
In addition to the flexibility that an interim position affords, there is also an opportunity for candidates to broaden their skillsets and gain further experience, due to the variety of options available. Working for different types and sizes of organisation, even if it’s in a similar role in the same sector, gives a much more rounded experience on a CV, and as such is becoming an increasingly popular choice. The stats are showing that candidates are still earning a premium if their particular skillset is in demand, such is the shortage in some areas, so there’s no loss on a financial front.
Flexibility has been a key buzzword for employers too. The uncertainty worldwide in the wake of the pandemic-induced economic downturn means that organisations increasingly need a flexible workforce. Interim finance professionals allow a company to respond to busy periods, market fluctuations and trends, and continue their isolated project plans. When there is a gap in resources or skills, or a specialist is needed for a certain period of time, a contractor is often the better solution than a permanent hire, given their breadth of experience and their ability to hit the ground running. Not every team has bench strength in enough depth to cover an absence or move resources onto a project and boosting the team with an interim professional is an ideal way to develop a future role should a permanent need arise.
From a hiring angle, once the IR35 compliance is understood and adopted by businesses, there are savings to consider. Contractors do not have the associated costs of permanent recruitment, onboarding, training and development, and the recruitment process can be significantly quicker, as it can be wholly about skillsets over cultural fit. Interims are used to parachuting in at short notice and as such require less management, and most are flexible by nature, used to extending contracts to suit the requirements of the role, should a project overrun.
If you would like to discuss your career as an interim professional or need to hire interim talent, contact us today.