When it comes to hiring contractors, compliance is one of the fastest-growing concerns for British businesses – especially this year, where a raft of data protection laws and tax legislations come into force. Risk mitigation and management is vital, making the whole process more than just a little challenging.
And yet, as we all know, niche skills are increasingly difficult to attract on a permanent basis, especially as many of those who do possess sought-after experience are finding it advantageous to swap from employed to contract status. As the workforce ages and key knowledge is invariably lost, taking on contractors has become a common, convenient and crucial option.
Understandably, if you haven’t done this before, it can seem a little daunting, but far from avoiding this vast treasure trove of talent, you’ll find it’s actually much easier than you think. Here are seven reasons why:
1) You work with a trusted contractor partner
Naturally we’re going to begin with this step, but it IS the starting point for a smooth and convenient process. Teaming up with a respected contractor recruitment agency (which has at its fingertips a database spilling over with experienced talent) should be your first port of call. Your dedicated consultant will carry out site visits to get a clear understanding of your business, how it operates and what you’re looking for. That person remains your point of contact for the duration and – going on our experience – becomes as much a part of your hiring team as your in-house recruiters.
2) Someone else will worry about potential risk areas
This is the important point: compliance. The implications of getting the hiring process wrong are huge and costly. And there are so many potential areas of risk, so it’s not surprising that this alone can dissuade businesses who urgently need skills. The responsibilities are numerous and onerous: understanding IR35 and tax regulations to keep HMRC happy, producing contractor terms, fair and equal recruiting processes, ensuring Right to Work requirements are satisfied, knowing what sort of insurance is needed and checking that all parties in the process are similarly compliant for GDPR purposes. It is a veritable minefield.
So let someone else have the worry. Your trusted partner agency will undertake those elements, including the vetting and scrutinising of third parties in the supply chain, for whom they are liable, providing clear advice and guidance where necessary, so no sleepless nights for you.
3) Niche skills are available
As the nature of contracting is usually short term and very specialised, it means there are vast pools of contractors who are ready and able to work once their current assignment ends. So despite what the news and industry press will have you believe, those skills are available, just on a short-term basis. Some of the most talented people, with the skills and knowledge that your business is crying out for, are actively searching for their next contract and you could engage them.
4) It’s fast
Once all the initial introductory processes are complete, you could have contractors on site significantly quicker than you would a permanent hire (which, research claims, can take around 28 days).
There are often cases at ARM where clients call with a requirement and, following a telephone interview, the contractor starts the next day. Our consultants produce the contracts, then handle the referencing, onboarding, any limited company documentation and all aspects of compliance, so you can get your project work delivered even faster.
5) You could save money
A common barrier against taking on contractors is cost; understandable given the seemingly sky-high daily rates that are advertised. Yet consider the extras that are generously paid out for permanent staff: National Insurance, pension contributions, pay for holiday, sickness and parental leave, plus any other benefits the company might offer. Then there are the internal costs incurred due to various equipment, HR and admin, training, induction, rewards and bonuses.
6) You don’t need to worry about payroll
Contractors are typically paid on a weekly basis, completing and submitting timesheets, for pay in arrears. Many clients operate their own timesheet system which integrates with the agency’s payment system, meaning that other than authorisation, you can be confident that the contractor will be paid without additional intervention. Companies which don’t have a timesheet system can use ARM’s eTimesheet platform, ETZ. Any queries or changes can be made directly between the contractor and our team, so you don’t need to worry.
7) You don’t need to manage your contractors
Contractors temporarily swell the headcount and it can appear than an already over-burdened manager suddenly has a few more people to look after. However, these skilled individuals are contracted with the agency, which means the agency manages them.
In our case, for example, our Contract Support Team calls to check how contractors are getting on and escalating any issues to the appropriate consultant. The entire management piece is taken care of by us, so your managers won’t need to assume any additional responsibilities past introducing them to the team, etc.
I know, right? It seems too easy. However, that’s how the process works – and could work for your business. If you’ve been thinking about taking on contractors, why not have a chat with our contract recruitment team to discover a solution which meets your needs. Those skills really are out there!