A recent conversation with a client went something like this…..
‘Craig, I need someone now! We’ve just picked up a major PSA client with volume roles. At the moment I’m working the desk and it’s taking me away from what I need to do…’ Note the tone of desperation in this Manager’s voice…..
‘Sure, John, we’ll get on it straight away. It may take a while to find the right person. Would you consider a Contractor to help you out in the meantime?’ There I said it… the dreaded ‘c’ word….
‘Um…. No…. We don’t really do Contractors Craig. I’ll muddle through until we find someone permanently.’
‘Are you sure John? I’ve got someone who can start on Monday and will be able to give you six months? They have 18 months experience, but are committed to going to university next March…’
‘No….No… We really want someone permanently. Contractors leave whenever something better comes along, they will probably take our database with them, and it’s just not worth the effort…’
We ‘to and fro’ for a few more minutes, I won’t bore you with the details – bottom line is the Recruitment Industry is……. Contractorist!
That’s right ‘Contractorist’ (Contractorist – adj. Describing a person or institution who discriminates against Contractors.) – OK, I made that word up, but you get the general idea….
Let’s look at the main arguments against contracting in agency recruitment:
1. Continuity and Tenure – Most contracts are 3-6 months. This doesn’t allow effective relationship building within accounts
2. IP – The recruitment industry is a Sales industry where client and candidate data is the most important asset of any business. Contractors may take this information to their next employer.
3. Training Time – Teaching process, database etc. would take too long
Now…… Let’s look at the facts….
Fact 1 – The average tenure of a Consultant in an agency recruitment in Melbourne is……… wait for it…….. 13 months!!!! That’s right 13 months. I know many recruitment owners/managers may say their retention rates are much higher, but you can’t argue with the stats. We randomly selected 82 resumes from our recruitment consultant database to put that data together.
Fact 2 – 17% of Contractors in the IT industry ‘go perm’ after accepting a 6 month contract. And a further 62% have their contracts extended for (at least) another 6 months. (IPro data 2009). Yes, I understand the IT Industry has little in common with agency recruitment, but this stat shows that at least 79% of all contractors within the IT industry remain with their employer for longer than 12 months… So, if we accept the premise that 79% of all contractors remain with their employer for over 12 months, and the average tenure of a full time ‘permanent’ Agency Recruitment Consultant in Melbourne is 13 months we begin to see the arguments against using contractors beginning to lose their allure…
Fact 3 – I don’t care who you are, or what you say – it can not be productive, efficient or cost effective to have a Manager sitting on a desk to the detriment of their other duties, (which may include running their own desk).
Fact 4 – Permanent Employees pose as great a risk to your IP as Contractors. They have the same access to sensitive data – and, as shown they will probably stay in your business for a similar length of time….
Contractors do have a place in Agency Recruitment. Whether they be on a project basis, or as a stop gap whilst you make your next strategic hire.
It really is time to practice what we preach to our own clients, and open up this important pool of talent to our industry.
Have a comment? Agree or disagree? My goal is to promote discussion on relevant issues facing our industry, and I would love you to throw your 2 cents in!