SJD Accountancy

Contractors in high demand among local authorities

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Latest research has revealed that in the last year, contractor hiring within local authorities and other public bodies increased by 2.7%.

According to the findings from the recent Comensura Government Index (GI), this suggests that local authorities are continuing to use temporary workers to provide greater workforce flexibility in delivering front-line services.

Findings show that eight of the 13 job classes reporting in the Comensura GI were positively affected by the use of contractors.  According to the report, the yearly increase in temporary worker FTE (full-time equivalent) was mainly due to increases within the light industrial (which grew by 9.3%), construction (36.6%) and office/clerical/admin (3.4%) sectors. 

Contractors are increasingly finding themselves in demand by the public sector, which could be down to a number of factors, including budget pressures and skills shortages – those who are self-employed are providing these local authorities with flexibility and specialist skills.

Jamie Horton, managing director of Comensura, explained, “The growth in professional white collar temporary workers, especially in information technology, is indicative of a rapidly changing public sector, which needs to access specialist skills and expertise on a short-term or project basis. As the economy continues to improve, we could see a talent tug of war between the private and public sector for highly specialist temporary and contractor labour.

Interestingly, it was also found that there has been a trend towards older contractor hiring, as the number of temporary workers aged over 35 being hired saw a significant rise.

Horton added, “Variation in the age of workers speaks volumes as to the changing mix of temporary labour. Hiring managers are turning to more experienced temporary workers to minimise impact on front line services as they can’t always afford the extra cost and time associated with hiring younger employees.” 

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