It’s understandable that if you find the talent you need, you want them committed to your business. Here’s why that’s not always the best choice.


• Feb 13 2023

How contract roles help businesses to attract the best talent

4 min read

Long term-ism is a virtue. Once you know the skills you need to bring into the business, and the experience that you require, it’s usually a good idea to secure that talent for the long haul. However, that’s not always possible, and sometimes not even the right choice. Here’s how contract hires can help you find the best people, and why it’s sometimes best for both parties.

Widening the talent pool

The taste for remote work hasn’t dwindled, which you can see in how common the hybrid model still is. We had the technology for working remotely, and now we have the culture. However, it’s usually impractical to be remote in the purest sense in which location doesn’t matter, and that’s down to a combination of laws and taxes.

Many countries (or states) make it difficult or expensive to permanently employ a citizen or a resident of a different jurisdiction, so even if they could do the job perfectly well, the red tape makes it impossible. However, in many cases, contractors aren’t subject to the same regulations. Each case is different, but you may find that contract roles are a very elegant solution to that complicated problem.

Once you establish how to structure your contracts, that could open up a literal world of talent. Probably it’d still be preferable if you could secure them on permanent contracts, but if you’re able to offer long enough contracts and you’re well prepared to secure good contractors on renewed deals, they can feel de facto permanent.

Overcoming reluctance to commit

The desire for hybrid work is part of a wider desire for flexibility. Fewer people now are willing to commit to a location, company, or even sector. If the offer is a permanent contract or nothing, many will take nothing. If they have marketable skills, they know that they can command good money and favourable employment terms, and that there’s no need for them to compromise. Once you remove that barrier, you could find that there are many more skilled and experienced candidates willing to discuss the opportunity.

When the job market has been more employer-driven, a period of temporary contract employment may have been for the benefit of the business making it easy to assess a candidate’s fit and contribution. They could then decide to offer them a permanent position, offer them another fixed-term contract, or part ways easily. As things stand, the ‘power’ dynamic is the reverse of that. A strong candidate that a business would love as a permanent hire might prefer a contract as a trial period before being willing to commit.

Offering attractive salaries

Of course, fixed contracts tend to pay that bit more than permanent versions of the same role, and it’s no revelation that if you pay more you can get better candidates. However, contracts make offering higher pay much more viable.

For one, on the assumption that you’re getting the best candidates, they’re more than worth it. Especially at the top levels, for example with interim executives and C-suite, contractors are bringing immense experience, sometimes from multiple sectors. They have the ability to transform a business, and it’s hard to put a price on that.

Also, you also don’t have to pay a lot of the non-wage costs of a contractor, like pension contributions or National Insurance (or equivalent). That goes a long way towards offsetting the premium you pay.

What’s more, the advantage of the contract arrangement is that it offers you so much more control over the cash flow aspect of wage costs. Yes, the wages are somewhat higher, but you can easily stop that outflow by not renewing a contract.

How to find the best hires at the best time

Of course, all of that only matters if you can find and secure the best talent. That’s where you need a search partner with deep industry knowledge, extensive sector experience and a broad network of experts. That’s where RPI comes in. Get in touch today:

RPI provides access to the top leadership and technology talent globally