Isolated or empowered? A look into contractor wellbeing.

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Isolated or empowered? A look into contractor wellbeing.
The benefits of a highly engaged contractor workforce are immense.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Being a contractor comes with many advantages: freedom, variety, and flexibility, to name a few.

Over the past 18 months, we have seen COVID-19’s swift and brutal impact on jobs in every market. For technology contractors, we saw initial job losses and contracts cut short, particularly across the industry sectors hardest hit by shutdowns. This was followed by a sharp uplift in demand as businesses recovered and many new sectors recognised the benefit of a decentralised workforce.

Through our personal interactions with over 13,000 contractors, we witnessed firsthand the toll that market instability was taking. Feedback indicated that contractors were feeling disconnected and uncertain during this time of crisis, as many of them had lost their jobs and others did not have access to the same level of support offered to permanent employees.

To respond to this need, we ramped up our efforts with a dedicated contractor care plan designed to support our members through this time, providing mental, physical and professional health benefits including access to Headspace, counselling services and fitness classes.

As we enter a new financial year with the same pandemic lingering on, we wanted to probe further into the topic of contractor wellbeing. We reached out to technology contractors around the world and asked them how they were feeling. Today, we are proud to release the findings from this exercise, which captured the perspectives of 1,733 contractors around the world from Melbourne to Manchester.

But first, why does this matter for employers? The benefits of a highly engaged contractor workforce are immense. Engaged workers are more productive, provide better quality outcomes, and lead to greater profitability for a business. It’s a no-brainer, but something a lot of employer’s struggle to do.

Our survey looked at the various aspects of wellness and what contractors really need in order to feel fulfilled and happy at work. Here’s what they had to say:

  • 1 in every 4 contractors we surveyed felt that they don't receive sufficient support from employers when it comes to their personal wellbeing

  • 49% felt that it was highly important to feel connected to their permanent teammates

  • 86% of contractors said that connecting to an employer’s mission/purpose was important/highly important

  • 32% of contractors felt that managing their time/ work-life balance was their greatest challenge

  • 45% of contractors said that professional support matters the most to them

  • 75% of contractors said that flexible working hours/ remote working was the benefit/perk that matters the most to them

  • 37% of contractors said that a clear purpose/ mission was the main thing they need to feel fulfilled at work

  • 57% of contractors said they strongly agreed with roles/projects giving a personal sense of purpose

I encourage you to read the full report, which takes a deep dive at the four key themes that emerged from the survey participants: belonging, remote working, purpose and challenges.

Mark Nielsen is Global CEO of Talent.

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