Bridging the Skills Gap with Contract Talent

by | 3 Aug 2021

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As markets rebound, employers are finding it challenging to fill roles. Several factors are contributing to the issue of finding just the right candidate for the job. However, if employers understand these causes and take a strategic approach to hire, the skills gap in an organisation can be bridged until a more stable, post-pandemic period emerges.

Factors contributing to the labour shortage

The good news is that over the past year up to June 2021, employment has increased by 777,900 people, at a rate of 6.3%, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. While most recently, the unemployment rate decreased by 3.1% from May to June 2021. This uptick in the employed has meant a concurrent decrease in the domestic labour supply. And, due to travel restrictions, a reduction in overseas labour has also contributed to the labour shortage issue.

A second, and more nebulous, aspect that is influencing the labour supply is the jobseekers themselves. In a recent article, it was reported that while the number of job ads has increased, the number of candidates applying for jobs has fallen by 8.7%. Job seekers appear to be pickier about the positions they are applying for. In addition, there is a reluctance by potential candidates to commit to a new job, preferring existing stability in light of the uncertainty of the last year and a half.

Embrace interim management

While worldwide markets are still in a state of flux, hiring interim managers for a specific time period provides a solid solution to bridging an internal skills gap. Hiring can be done expediently, as it’s not necessary to complete an extended search involving an exhaustive process of screening, interviewing, selection, checking, testing and assessment.

Organisations can focus on hiring a candidate for a specified project, without the concern of promising future career growth. Further, employers are not committed to ensuring there is enough work for the new hire when the project is finished.

Hiring for transformation and upskilling

There are additional benefits of hiring an interim manager. They can bring new skill sets to a business and take on strategic initiatives and projects that may not require a permanent hire. For instance, the financial services and wealth management sectors are undergoing a rapid digital transformation that has only been accelerated by COVID-19. Consumer behaviour has changed, and the number of digital transactions has increased exponentially over the last year, disrupting traditional service models.

These monumental consumer shifts are changing businesses’ HR needs as they relate to workforce skillsets and capabilities. Many tasks traditionally done by employees are transitioning into robot-assisted or data-driven tasks. On the other hand, there is a greater need for leaders who have critical thinking skills and the ability to solve complex business problems. By hiring an interim manager, businesses can forge through the transformation period of modernising processes, and upskill their existing workforce to gain the capabilities the new work demands.

Additional benefits of the interim manager include:

  • Rapid deployment: Interim managers thrive in change. They can parachute into a new role and tackle a specified problem without much support from the outset. Since they are not going to be embedded in the company long-term, there is little effect on culture when they depart.
  • A dedicated resource: Whether your organisation is planning on a digital transformation or has a project that has been sitting on your to-do list for too long, an interim manager is a dedicated resource that will help knock off the project while you focus on running the day-to-day business.
  • Fit budget constraints: If your company doesn’t have the budget for a permanent position, an interim manager could help you achieve your business goals, without having to commit to a long-term resource.
  • A fresh perspective: Often overqualified for the job at hand, an interim manager has a wide variety of situational experience, education, knowledge and skills that they bring to provide a fresh, objective view and solutions to the business.
  • Productive: Extremely goal-oriented, interim managers are laser-focused on achieving positive outcomes, without any interest in job longevity.

Becoming an interim manager is a career choice, and the job is not a placeholder position for managers who are in between permanent positions. They are highly skilled change agents who flourish in high-pressure environments.

Some of the benefits of being an interim manager include:

  • Variety: Interim managers gain cross-industry skills and experience that can be brought to positively influence each new business they work with. The role is suitable for those with a passion for learning and a desire to be on the leading edge of change. In today’s market, interim roles are being placed for Senior Project Managers, Implementation Specialists, Technology Strategists, Senior HR Managers, Operations Managers, General Managers and Business Analysts.
  • Flexibility: With short term and defined assignments, interim managers have the option to work on a temporary project, and then focus on other passions once the assignment is completed.
  • Impact: The role of interim manager offers professionals the chance to make a big impact in a short amount of time. They reap the rewards of implementation and leading successful missions.

With the rollout of vaccines worldwide, and the quickly changing business environment post-pandemic, hiring an interim manager offers a solution to organisations that need an immediate expert resource to effect impactful change on a right-sized budget.

If you or your organisation is looking for hiring support, contact us to find out more about setting up an effective sourcing plan.

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