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Recruitment Trends in the Contractor Market

How is the contracting market in 2024?

Recruitment Trends for Contractors

In the fast-paced realm of HR & contract recruitment, the contractor market takes centre stage, playing a pivotal role in meeting the dynamic demands of businesses across various industries. As we step into 2024, the UK and Irish contractor market is undergoing a transformative dance, aligning with the latest recruitment trends and human resource hiring strategies. It is essential for contractors and employers to sync up with these changes to stay ahead of the game. According to our latest research on contractors, almost 67% are open to new opportunities in 2024. So, with this in mind, let’s delve into the five key hiring trends shaping the contractor market in the UK this year, weaving in the vital keywords for those scouring the internet for recruitment insights.

Remote Revolution Slowing Down

In 2023, the rise in remote work opportunities was not just a buzzword; it was a hiring trend that defined the HR and recruiting landscape. The COVID-19 aftermath has accelerated the adoption of remote work across industries, with businesses recognising the benefits of a flexible workforce. Read further research into this topic here in an article by Nigel Bolger, our Commercial Manager.

In 2024 we are expecting to see a pullback for this with companies pushing for more time in the office. Justifications are being made for this for both larger and smaller companies. 1 week per month onsite or 2 days per week are the current working habits for many. The only major shift we expect here is that companies will increase their requirements for contractors to be onsite.

Niche Skills

In navigating the competitive job market, businesses are on the lookout for contractors with specialised skills – a talent acquisition trend that dominated in 2023. Companies understand the importance of sourcing individuals with niche expertise to meet specific project requirements. After all, they expect the contractors to hit the ground running. 2023 saw a quiet year for contractors in the Software Engineering space with continued growth in demand on DevOps, Data, and interestingly in Finance. The Project Management and Business Analysis demand maintained in 2023 and we are seeing a slight growth in demand for these skillsets in 2024 already.

Job trends 2024
Flexibility and Negotiating in Contracting

Contracting in 2024 is not just about getting the job done; it’s about crafting a lifestyle. The emphasis on flexibility and work-life balance resonates strongly with contract recruitment plans. Contractors value the ability to choose projects, set work hours, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. HR recruiters recognise the need to offer flexibility to attract and retain top contractor talent. This hiring trend encompasses negotiating favourable terms, including flexible working hours, remote work options, and competitive compensation packages. The top 2 questions agencies are asked are rates and flexibility when discussing contract positions with candidates. Up to 70% of contract roles in 2023 showed a requirement from clients for some on-site work.

Compliance Checkmate

 Compliance within contracting is always going to be a key area. In this market where companies want the work done asap and candidates aim to minimise the downtime between contracts, the escalating costs make compliance a critical factor for both parties. Companies are increasing the requirements for compliance and checks. For candidates, it is key to be well-prepped when going through the recruitment process. For clients it’s good practice when advancing through the process to give feedback to us, the recruitment agencies. This proactive communication enables agencies to initiate processes that contribute to reducing the onboarding time and fostering a smoother transition for all parties involved.

Diversity Equality and Inclusion

DEI Initiatives take the spotlight in 2024, not just in industries, but also in the contractor market, shaping recruitment in human resources. Businesses are actively engaging with agencies to source diverse contractor talent. As a contractor, embracing diversity and showcasing a multicultural skill set becomes a strategic move to open doors to new opportunities and partnerships in the realm of recruitment.

Conclusion

As the beats of 2024 resonate through the contractor market, recruitment professionals are invited to join the dance. Ride the wave of remote work, leverage specialised skills, champion flexibility, navigate compliance intricacies, and be a part of the diversity dance. This isn’t just a market; it’s a recruitment party, and your rhythm is the key to making a lasting impact.

Author Kenneth O Connor is Head of Contract Recruitment UK and Ireland at E-Frontiers.

Please feel free to get in touch with our commercial team to discuss your recruitment needs:

IRE:  Nigel Bolger : [email protected] (m: 00353 86 3888147)

UK: Kenneth O’ Connor : [email protected] (m: 0044 740 365 1213)