Give Yourself Room To Breathe In A Talent Crisis

by Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive at HRM Recruitment

As a Leader, you will know that when a new project appears or a key person is absent, deadlines don’t change but resources can be get stretched, sometimes to breaking point.


Such talent crises not only create gaps and threats to the quality of work but can generate stress and demotivation amongst others trying to cope with the new quantum. Such conflicting challenges demand total care in how they are addressed. The rise of professional contractors across all functions (HRM’s recent pharmaceutical sector research highlights 41% of professionals in Science want to work as contractors, a further 42% would be happy to do so) provides an immediate and valuable solution to many such talent challenges.

If you work for an agile organisation, your firm probably already draws from this professional talent pool. Flexible resourcing, meaning talent when needed, cost out when not, is an essential part of competitive and adaptive talent resourcing. Most observers see the inexorable shift to agile working as conducive to employer and employee needs. As the shelf life of expertise shortens and companies adopt incremental and continuous, rather than wholesale, change processes, contracting and interim professionals provide a great solution. If you are not familiar with agile talent resourcing, there are generally three models to choose from:

1. Daily Rate Contractors (through a Recruitment Firm)
In this model, the contractor will have a limited company set up and a contract “for service” is issued. The contractor is engaged by the recruitment firm, who in turn is engaged by the company, so no direct contractual relationship exists between contractor and company. The benefit to your firm includes not having to pay expensive employment costs (PRSI, Holiday Pay etc), while the contractor has net pay tax efficiency. Experienced day-rate contractors bring additional skills and provide subject matter expertise for your firm to draw on.

2. Temporary PAYE Worker (through a Recruitment Firm)
This option works well for short-term cover for lower level positions. The candidate is leased to your company and sits on the recruitment firm’s payroll. A contract “of employment” is provided to the temporary worker by the recruitment firm.

3. Fixed Term Contractor (on your businesses payroll)
In this model, the company offers a contract of employment directly to the contractor, similar to permanent but with a defined period. The benefit is ownership of the employment relationship, but all employer costs (holiday pay, Employer PRSI, benefits) are borne by the company. We notice in some areas, contract talent has moved away from such arrangements in favour of Option 1 above.

As businesses face continued uncertainty with shifting political systems, increasing talent competitiveness and contracting provides an ideal solution, that provides maximum flexibility. Professional contractors have typically worked in multiple environments and so in addition to the specific expertise you seek at any given time, they often bring a wide range of added value. All of which, allows you to handle a crisis with care and gives your team a little room to breathe.