Project contractors are happy and satisfied with their independence and are consistently finding work in a changing market, according to recent research conducted by Monash University.
Commissioned by contractor management firm Entity Solutions, the 2014 IPro Index found that white-collar contractors, known as independent professionals or IPros, are doing well in an environment that has seen four significant changes in government, a global financial crisis and the peak then gradual decline of Australia’s mining boom since research began.
Both the drivers to hire IPros and the reasons project contractors turn to this mode of work have remained consistent over the six years the index has collected data.
“At a time when Australia’s multi-speed economy continues to create an environment of very little investment confidence in many sectors, it’s not surprising that more and more businesses are turning to flexible workforce arrangements to increase productivity without having to invest in permanent employment,” explained Matthew Franceschini, CEO of Entity Solutions.
According to the index, compared over time the drivers that attract people to the contracting lifestyle have not changed. The top three reasons for people turning to contracting are: the opportunity to engage in a variety of work, the sense of freedom and a perceived ability to earn more.
Franceschini also believes organisations are starting to realise that IPros are as loyal and hard-working as their permanent counterparts. “As our research continues to demonstrate, IPros see themselves as business partners and it’s an inherent part of their role to step up to business challenges, deal with client problems as if they were their own and remain loyal to the client until their value diminishes.”
The research also looked at the habits of IPros with one area focusing on the use of social media platforms. The index found IPros use social networks to attain work, keep up to date, remain in contact with peers and friends, to profile their business or brand, and for fun. More than three-quarters of contractors nominated LinkedIn as the platform they use for work-related reasons, with Facebook the preferred platform for fun.
“The IPro picture is one of being switched on, networked and in control,” said report author Dr Tui McKeown, Senior Lecturer at Monash University. “Almost counter-intuitively given their love for variety and flexibility, they are a very stable resource due to their commitment to their employers and the task at hand. Their optimism and strong belief in self equips them for the ups and downs of contracting, and they are at the forefront when it comes to exploiting social media for business and social benefit.”
Infographic: Download a snapshot of the IPro Index