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Contract Workers and Technology: the solution to talent shortages and acquisition

pexels sora shimazaki 5673502 - Aligra.co.ukThe UK’s talent shortage has been well documented. Between October 2021 and November 2022, the percentage of businesses experiencing a shortage of workers fluctuated between 12.9% and 16.8%. And there’s little reason to believe that 2023 has brought any significant degree of improvement. Globally, recruitment has been strained since the onset of Covid-19 and the situation in the UK has been worsened by a number of factors, including Brexit and the implementation of the IR35 off-payroll working legislation.  Here, our friends at Cool Company share how businesses can best deal with talent acquisition when there are only limited resources around.. Technology and contract workers could provide the answer.

How contract workers and technology will help resolve the talent shortage

The role of technology

When the topic of technology and recruitment arises, most people turn their thoughts to artificial intelligence (AI). To a future of robots and redundancies. But while that might, theoretically, prove to be the case in the more distant future, right now tech has a more positive role. And it lies primarily in facilitating flexible working and expedited recruitment.

Employee management

53% of recruiters believe flexible working to be the main priority of the contemporary candidate. And with most people having gained a taste of home or hybrid working during the pandemic, there’s good reason to believe this to be true. But flexible working needn’t just refer to a person’s place of work. It can also be linked to working patterns. Rather than being tied to a fixed schedule, employees want the ability to easily change their hours – working more or less, dropping Tuesdays, volunteering for late shifts, to work when the kids are at school – without jumping through hoops. And technology can help with that.

Not only allowing office workers to complete their work remotely, but through the development of apps and enhanced communication systems, enabling all employees to take control of their schedules, their workload, and their working life.


As for recruitment, the scope for the use of tech is growing. From digital applications and screening processes, to online interviewing and AI-driven recruitment. While AI recruitment has come under some scrutiny recently, fixes are in the offing and the potential for time and cost savings are great.

The role of contractors

Some sectors are struggling with recruitment more than others. In the accommodation and food services sector 35.5% of businesses have experienced shortages. In construction, 20.7% of businesses simply can’t find the staff. And these are some of the sectors that have previously relied upon contract workers.

Many businesses turned away from contract workers following the initial implementation of IR35, finding the process too complicated. But 58% of businesses have already experienced an uplift in their reliance on contractors this year, thanks to the greater availability of umbrella companies. Working as an intermediary, and handling all the legalities of managing contractors, umbrella companies are making it easier for businesses to access the talent they need, and for workers to enjoy the flexibility they crave.

Technology has simplified the process of accessing contract workers. With most umbrella companies operating digitally, it’s possible for businesses to outsource talent acquisition and management entirely online while providing their workers with the flexibility they need to thrive.

Kris Simpson, Country Manager UK at Cool Company, the fastest-growing umbrella company working to simplify and streamline administration for recruitment agencies and contractors. Providing freedom for contractors without the bureaucracy. While allowing businesses to benefit from access to niche talent without the need to take on new hires, or handle the admin associated with contract recruitment.

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