Home / Industry / Human Resource /  Pandemic pushes firms to hire more temp staff

The remote-working model that has gained currency because of the covid-19 pandemic is enabling companies to keep their temporary and permanent hiring ratio between 30:70 and 35:65, against the pre-covid ratio of 20:80, said human resources solution providers. Companies are now comfortable working with a wider talent base spread across the country and factors such as educational background and location are becoming less important, they said.

“We have seen a spike of 9-12% in terms of contract staff. Some of this is definitely because of the outbreak of the pandemic and the learning from it. It is also about flexibility in the workforce model because of fixed time-based projects, the ability to keep costs under control, the influx of the digital wave, and focus on increasing employee productivity," said Sudeep Sen, business head, industrial manufacturing and engineering, and general staffing, TeamLease Services Ltd.

Sectors such as manufacturing, construction, chemicals, energy, power, automobile, and infrastructure are hiring temporary workers to meet seasonal spikes in orders and revised turnaround time to meet targets. Healthcare, e-commerce, and consumer sectors are also hiring more temporary workers to meet rising delivery demand.

“Organizations are looking at their workforce planning and trying to be strategic about it as they have realized that when events such as this occur and they have a large permanent workforce, ramping it up or down is extremely difficult. So, there is a lot of planning happening on what percentage of the workforce can be temporary, permanent or gig. Usually, frontline roles which are repetitive in nature, can easily become temporary, whereas roles that are supervisory and above, could easily be in the permanent category," said Yeshab Giri, director, staffing, Randstad India.

Temporary hiring helps most organizations control costs and increase focus on employee productivity. It also allows ease in scaling up and down, according to their needs, along with less legal responsibilities. Temporary hiring allows firms to assess a person in real time with fewer obligations, with the option to convert a contract job into full-time employment after evaluation of the contract period.

“As most organizations embark on their digital transformation journeys, they undertake many short-term projects for which they need quality talent for a fixed duration. This results in the creation of short-term roles where organizations need to leverage specialized workers.As workers with specialized skillsare often limited, it results in talentshortage and high cost for an organization to acquire and retain such talent,"said Shibani Patel, vice president, Collabera India.

There is a demand for temporary workers across categories, from engineering and technology-focused roles to operations and customer service. They are entitled to similar benefits as permanent employees, such as provident fund, group insurance, health insurance, and social security benefits. In certain cases, even the staff’s family members, including spouse, two children and parents, get insurance cover. They also have added benefits such as shorter notice periods and fewer legal obligations than permanent workers.

If a company wants to retain a temporary worker by offering the person full-time employment, he or she can also get higher remuneration.

The cost to acquire and retain talent, especially in technology-focused areas is often extremely exorbitant for an organization. Hiring temporary workers helps an organization find the right talent in an extremely cost-effective manner for the duration required, saving long-term employee-related costs, especially when business is in the slow lane.

Additionally, organizations can save on recruitment costs and save time on human resource processes.

Flexi-staffing also allows companies to replace permanent employees who leave the organization.

In some cases, companies are even looking to enhance the educational qualifications of temporary staff through online learning modules, which are recognized by the University Grants Commission to keep attrition under control. This also leads to higher productivity among staff.

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