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The battle for contractor talent & how to win

Hirers • Jan 9, 2023 10:30:00 AM • Written by: Georgia Reynolds

The battle for contractor talent means the need for a leading talent acquisition and retention
strategy is business critical. How can hirers differentiate their proposition to contractors to attract
and retain top talent?

We are now over 12 months on from the widespread disruption caused by IR35 to hirers who
engage contractors. A year ago the main concerns at the top of the list for talent acquisition and
HR teams were mitigating IR35 risk rapidly and looking at how alternative payroll arrangements
could be put in place quickly to help retain the talent they had. For many hirers, the simple solution
was to offer fixed-term employment or umbrella company options to contractors and an increase
in the pay rate to offset some of the additional tax.

Whilst these choices dealt with the immediate specter of an inquiry with HMRC, over 12 months on
recruitment teams are now faced with the realisation that offering very basic payroll options is not
helping them attract and retain the right calibre of contractors to ensure their internal teams can
deliver key projects for both their own business and revenue-generating projects for clients. The
best contractors are in high demand and short supply, leading HR and talent acquisition teams to
consider not only increased pay rates but also looking at what other value offerings they can
incorporate to give their business an edge over competitors.

" When we held a recent survey of our contractor population and asked them about the main challenges they face as contractors we were interested to see just how high on the agenda mental well-being had moved, alongside financial security and personal development"

the battle for contractors

From a net take-home pay perspective, clearly, the transition from operating a PSC to moving on to payroll is painful. Most payroll offerings are limited in their flexibility and often only provide the minimum statutory requirements an employer must give their employees. Pension provision is a classic example, with most hirers or recruitment firms only set up to provide the basic auto-enrolment options required by law. However, making contributions to a salary sacrifice pension scheme can be a fantastic option for contractors who can afford to make significant contributions.

For a higher rate tax payer the tax relief available can mean that a £1000 contribution to a SIPP can cost as little as £426, therefore presenting a significant way to mitigate tax. The ability to give access to such options can mean the difference between a contractor accepting your role or not. Contingent workforce platforms such as Giant Precision will ensure that these benefits can be made available to contractors whilst removing the administrative burden entirely for hirers.

There has also been much written about the diversity and inclusion agenda with talent acquisition over the last 5 years. The drive to access talent from a wider pool including those with disabilities, is high on the list for many businesses, and for many publicly listed companies, it is now becoming a key factor for investment decisions for shareholders. Therefore ensuring accessibility for contractors who have disabilities is important and you need to ensure any software-related platform involved in the contractor management process is suitably configured.

At Giant Precision, we have invested in recent years to ensure all of our portals have a range of accessibility options for those with visual or hearing impairments to make sure they can utilise the software effectively. The ability for the software to be translated into multiple languages is also a great feature, particularly when business are extending their reach to global talent pools in the search for talent.

Accessibility also means having a variety of communication channels open with contractors to ensure they can have their questions answered however they choose and by whichever means they choose. The very nature of a contractor’s work means they often work irregular and long hours, and so giving them access to 24-hour portals, that are mobile-friendly with an in-built feedback CRM along with live chat, and traditional website alongside phone lines is another important factor to consider when choosing a workforce platform partner. The more you can provide By attaining great service and feeding this back into the talent acquisition offering you will help to give contractors assurance that you understand them and can accommodate their needs which often vary dramatically from those of your permanent staff.

When we held a recent survey of our contractor population and asked them about the main challenges they face as contractors we were interested to see just how high on the agenda mental well-being had moved, alongside financial security and personal development. This clearly shows that a workforce management partner that can provide support in these areas, over and above simply paying accurately and on time, could give you an edge to a hirer when attracting talent.

At Giant Precision, we have recently launched our Giant development program, a series of quarterly webinars with professional personal development coaches who focus on addressing each of the top concerns raised with our contractors when surveyed. The popularity has been overwhelming and we will continue to look to develop the offering into other areas such as skills-based learning to provide further support to contractors.

When looking at how to strengthen your talent acquisition and retention strategy, you should consider many of the above points to ensure you are providing a fully rounded competitive offering. You may find that covering these areas may well mean you can secure a contractor without having to limit the conversation solely to a rate negotiation. The right workforce management partner can deploy these strategies quickly and level up your talent acquisition rapidly, giving you the edge in the battle for the best talent.

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Georgia Reynolds

Marketing Coordinator – Content