The Truth About Fixed-Term Contracts

​Following what has been a strange 12 months I have noticed an increased number of fixed terms contract opportunities within the IFS marketplace. I do fully understand the reasoning behind a company looking at fixed term contracts. It’s a cheaper alternative than hiring an IFS consultant without the ties of having a permanent employer on your payroll. However, the market interprets FTC’s very differently. Over the past 3 weeks I have reached out to my IFS network on LinkedIn using a number of polls and the results are certainly interesting.

FTCs in a niche market

From the perspective of an IFS recruiter, a fixed term contract opportunity can always seem like a bit of a burden. In niche markets like IFS, I am often left scratching my head with who I may have available to discuss the opportunity. In my eyes a permanent candidate in a role would not consider an FTC due to the lack of security. On the other hand a day rate IFS contractor would not consider an FTC due to the lack of financial gain. This leaves a small pool of candidates who have either been made redundant or have been without a contract for some time.

Considering FTCs in a Permanent Role

Having reached out to the permanent market, 64% of people stated they would not consider an FTC if they were in a secure permanent position. These results came as a bit of a surprise to me I expected it to be higher and so showed a great insight for myself to not close the door on those in roles. However, in the IFS market, most customers will know when posting a job for a specific IFS role they may only have 3 or 4 relevant applicants. If you consider that with the fact that 36% of permanent employees will consider FTC’s you may be left with 1-3 relevant applicants.

Considering FTCs in a Contract Role

Moving away from the permanent market and asking questions of those who apply their trade in the IFS contract market. I wanted to find out how long they would have to be out of work to consider an FTC. 58% of IFS contractors would only consider a FTC if they had been out of work for 3 months. This is exactly what I expected when the results came in. After 3 months of being out of work, what kind of mindset would that IFS contractor be in when joining your team? Will they be demotivated? Perhaps their confidence may have been rocked after a number of unsuccessful interviews. Are you getting someone who is fully bought into what you are doing?


The Issue with FTCs

My concerns with fixed-term contracts is that if I do place someone in a role they would still actively be looking for something else. Whether it is a secure permanent position or for an IFS contract role which would pay them (in most cases) double the FTC. As a niche permanent recruiter, my goal and focus is to provide customers with long-term solutions, not short-term fixes. In fact 90% of my placements from the past 3 years are still in the same role I introduced them to. The thought then of an IFS candidate moving onto a new opportunity within 4 months of a 12 month fixed-term contract makes me feel uneasy. So when I asked the market if they would consider other things, the results were telling.

79% of people in a fixed-term contract would actively look for a permanent role. Having covered the complexity of who you can attract for these type of roles, imagine there is a 79% chance they will look for something else.

In Conclusion

I am not against FTCs and I appreciate the polls will not represent the whole of the market. However, when qualifying what it is you need from a hire we will ask whether or not the role could be permanent or if you have considered IFS contractors. In many cases people think we ask that because it benefits us… in fact, from a permanent perspective, it doesn’t. We charge a fee and after 12 months, we get a candidate back on the market. We ask these questions to benefit you. In a niche market space, finding and keeping hold of resources can be tough enough. Trying to offer FTCs in most cases is just making things harder.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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