Having spent the last 8+ years working across different industry sectors with numerous organisations has provided me a rather unique insight to how businesses are continually evolving and adapting based on consumers (our) wants and needs. How this effects individual businesses varies dependent on their products and service offerings, but the benefit of being agile and responsive is becoming more so than ever the critical key success factor for an organisation to achieve its mission.
Because of this companies are having to juggle responsiveness vs efficiency vs cost which has resulted in organisations looking internally to assess capabilities within the business and this has given rise to the need for professional contractors.
When I commenced my career in recruitment I ran a desk of temporary and fixed term contractors, initially these positions were lower level white collar roles, pivotal to business success on the frontline. Fast forward 8 years later and the need for professional contractors across all positions and industry sectors is on the rise with over 65% of Australian businesses employing temporary and contracting staff.
So what does this mean for you, the HR Professional? This means opportunity; this means being able to work across various industries for various organisations all with unique offerings, methodologies, cultures and mentors.
There is a mentality that comes with being offered a “permanent” position. According to the Oxford Dictionary the definition of Permanent is "lasting or intended to last or remain unchanged indefinitely." A lot of people skim over the meaning of “intended” and focus on the latter, setting an expectation that is becoming more and more unrealistic and not synergistic with where times are heading. On countless occasions I have seen temporary contractors work for the one employer longer than someone offered a permanent position. I have seen temporary to permanent opportunities lasting years whilst some permanent appointments cease within their probationary period. The ability to see past the words of Contracting and/or Temporary Employment will open up a whole new world of opportunities and if you’re smart and well researched you can use contracting as a spring board to fast track your professional career.
For example, say you’re a mid-level HR Business Partner and as a generalist you’ve very much enjoyed working across Employee and Industrial Relations and you would like to explore the potential of making this a permanent focus but are not sure if this is the right move. A contract is a great way to test the waters, whether it’s a fixed term (agreed time period) or temporary (agreed time or ongoing), this gives you the opportunity to learn, take on different responsibilities and decide if this is really a direction you want to be taking. Companies moving through change look at bringing on contracting/temporary staff to assist with pieces of work or specific projects. As a HR Professional this gives you the opportunity to get hands on with mergers, acquisitions and play a part in creating an effective HR strategy. This learning is invaluable and will give insight that you otherwise would not have gained access too.
Permanent employment also has its advantages and if you work under a great manager who is also a fantastic mentor and provides you the autonomy and opportunity to work across numerous projects, increasing your knowledge, that is priceless.
The way businesses need to operate to remain competitive and successful is changing and so is the way they employ people to contribute to the organisation’s overall success. Gone are the days where contracts on your CV are frowned upon. The ability to adapt and change your working and communication style to facilitate numerous organisations and cultures is now seen as a value-add, an asset you take with you to your next challenge.