The biggest myths about a contingent workforce

silhouette of people walking on snow covered ground

silhouette of people walking on snow covered groundThe battle for talent is far from over, and in many sectors, it’s only intensifying. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost a third (31 per cent) of Australian businesses are crying out for help to find suitable staff amid one of the country’s largest-ever labour shortages. Several sectors are experiencing the most difficulty finding qualified people, including builders and labourers, clerical workers, sales, and hospitality staff. ICT professionals are also in high demand.

One of the solutions to a shortage of permanent talent is temporary staffing. But many misconceptions about temps and casuals persist, making businesses wary about hiring contingent workers. Casual staff can fill vital gaps, boost a company’s performance, and achieve business goals.

Let’s debunk some of the myths.

MYTH 1: Hiring a contingent workforce costs too much resources, including money

The cost of hiring contingent workers varies but is often far more affordable than recruiting full-time staff. For instance, seasonal workers are only employed as needed and not on the books during downtime, while with casual staff, you have to pay casual loading but not annual or sick leave.

Organisations can also use staffing agencies rather than having to recruit directly. This means there are no costs in terms of advertising, time, and HR involvement. An agency will have teams of people dedicated to recruiting immediately and efficiently. We do this a thousand times every month, so it’s a seamless process. Agencies recruit and manage a pool of individuals and will have pre-screened people (such as Working with Children checks). This on-demand approach makes increasing headcount for busy periods and events faster, more efficient and easier. A delivery company we worked with cut their speed-to-hire from 10 days to 24 hours.

MYTH 2: It’s time-consuming and complex to deal with wage and remuneration

It’s important to understand the difference between temps and casuals from both a legal and practical standpoint. Casuals have no contracted, guaranteed hours, usually work irregularly, and don’t accrue sick or annual leave.

Temporary or seasonal employees are usually contracted via a third-party staffing agency that handles all the HR requirements. The workers are the agency’s employees, so they are responsible for paying them accurately and fairly. For example, we use an awards engine to ensure that pay rates are fair and legal and meet industry standards.

By using external experts, businesses don’t have to worry about legal and tax paperwork, saving hours in administration. One company that supplies field-based retail staff saved $100,000/year by omitting an internal HR team.

MYTH 3: It’s easy to slack off on the job/temporary jobs are insecure

Another misconception is that temporary staff are not committed to a company and will do a poor job or quit without notice. The reality is that many temps and casuals want to work but have other commitments, such as study or family responsibilities, that don’t currently make permanent, full-time employment possible. As such, they may need their hours even more since they have limited availability for paid work.

Furthermore, they anticipate positive references from the businesses they temporarily work for future opportunities and may even hope to secure future work with the company or become permanent staff once their situation permits.

We use a rating and review system to ensure employees perform at their best. Any worker that receives a low rating from their employer will be investigated and removed from our pool of talents, ensuring only the best workers are available.

MYTH 4: Casual workers aren’t as skilled as full-time employees

While temps may need onboarding to get up to speed with new roles, they may often bring more experience and skills than regular staff. Having worked in different places and coming from different sectors and backgrounds, they offer highly valuable diversity to an organisation. They may use other languages beneficial in customer service or high-level skills from other professions.

Contingent workers deliver much value to companies and are a vital part of the modern workforce. Hiring temps, casuals, and seasonal workers can provide organisations with greater flexibility and access to specialised expertise and are a cost-effective way to ensure business as normal amid the ongoing hiring crisis.

By Tom Amos, chief executive and co-founder of Sidekicker

This article was first published by HR Leader