What Skilled Contractors Want

Use of contingent workers is a critical part of your workforce strategy and as contracting becomes more common as a work preference, knowing how to attract and retain these skilled workers is crucial for success. According to a 2017 Intuit report, the gig economy now includes 34% of the workforce, and is expected to reach 43 percent by 2020. That means there will be more demand for the professionals with the right skills, so employers need to know how to differentiate themselves in the market.

If you rely on specialized contractors to manage change, oversee projects, analyze needs, and deliver results then you need to understand these workers’ priorities and preferences.

In the recent Hays US What People Want report, we compared responses from those who said they preferred contracting to those who want to work full time. Based on key differences between their priorities and preferences, we are able to find some guiding principles for targeting this group for attraction and retention.

What sets skilled contractors apart? 

1. Contractors are more likely to say they are happy in their current role. Fifty-one percent of contractors say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their current position, which is 19% higher than full-time workers.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Online staffing platforms and freelancer talent pools

2. Contractors are more motivated by compensation than other workers. People who prefer contracting say compensation is half the reason to accept a job offer, compared to full-time workers, who say it is 43%. They also weigh benefits and career growth as less important, while culture is still a big part of their decision-making process.

3. Contractors experience less workplace pressure. Almost half (49%) of US workers said they are experiencing high or very high workplace pressure, but only 41% of contractors say the same. Contractors often have clear, measurable objectives coming into a role, and may be less likely to be asked to pick up extra tasks.

4. Contractors are less likely to consider leaving their current role. Contractors are almost twice as likely to say they are loyal to their current role compared to full-time workers. We find contractors are usually dedicated to finishing their contracts because their reputation for completion is critical for securing future assignments.

The specialist contractor is a highly skilled and experienced expert who prefers to contract. They are happier at work, feel less pressure, and are less likely to leave their current role. Their main motivator is compensation, however, they also rate culture as more important than ffull-timeprofessionals, both for accepting a job offer and staying in their current role.


Work with your staffing firm to make sure you align with market expectations, and find ways to promote your culture, and the opportunities to learn and develop in the role. What is the day to day work environment like? How will the role challenge and advance the person who gets it? Think about what the contractor will get out of the role, not just what you need from them.

Retain contractors by walking the talk on company culture. Contractors weigh culture highly when deciding to stay with a company and say the most important aspects of culture are open communication and strong leadership. Compared to full-time workers, they are also 40% more likely to say a flat organizational hierarchy is important. Aim to work with a firm that offers benefits such as health and dental to contractors, as this can be a key differentiator for both attraction and retention.

Understanding how to attract and retain skilled contractors could be vital to achieving your organizational objectives in the year to come, so ensure you are implementing and promoting the factors that matter most to these sought-after candidates.

MORE: Recruiting Gen Z

Dan Rodriguez

Dan Rodriguez
Dan Rodriguez president of Hays US and is a 22-year veteran of the IT staffing industry.

Dan Rodriguez

Share This Post


Recent Articles

Powered by staffingindustry.com ·