2021 is set to be the year of the contractor. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, we saw an immediate need for shorter-term skilled talent particularly in the technology, marketing/design, finance, office support, sales, and pharma/life sciences industries. All of which is reflected in our 2021 Salary Guide.
In fact, in a recent Cpl survey, 25% of respondents stated they were currently working as contractors and this number is only set to rise.
Hiring contractors is perfect for project-based roles, is quicker for both employer and employee and opens up the opportunity to access skilled talent for shorter terms projects. Below are some of the key sectors where contractors are in demand for 2021.
Contract jobs in demand 2021
Technology & IT
Over the last 12 months, there has been a continuous rise in demand for IT contracting talent. For example, at the onset of the pandemic in March, there was a high demand for contingent infrastructure support.
Employers are also looking for candidates to combat security risks with a strong demand for cybersecurity and information security with many seeking previous experience in Identity and Access Management (IAM).
On the Data & BI side there’s been a spike in demand for contract data and reporting analysts and contractors with experience in creating real business insights and designing data solutions will continue to be in demand in 2021.
Finally, software engineering & development roles have seen a resurgence with a significant rise in contract hires in the latter half of 2020 and into 2021. There has also been an increased demand in areas including financial services, MedTech, FinTech, security and e-commerce.
Accounting & Finance
We anticipate a continued trend towards contracting within the finance sector in 2021 with large financial institutions beginning to ramp up temp and contract recruitment.
Many people are cautious to move in such an uncertain market and want to be overinformed and understand a company in detail to ensure they are the right cultural fit and that the role will benefit their career.
As a result, we are finding that candidates now more than ever want to engage with a recruitment consultant who understands the market and their clients deeply.
Office Support & Customer Support
Across 2020 temporary and contract office support and admin positions grew in both the public sector and healthcare industries. The most in-demand roles in healthcare have varied between clerical grade III and VII, junior admin, senior admin, PA, operations, and management.
The pandemic also brought about a huge increase in requests for call centre agents within the healthcare and customer service industry to help with the huge growth in online activity. Employers are opting for short-term hiring as the market remains unpredictable.
Other in-demand roles include administrators, customer service representatives and sales administrators (43%) followed by clerical officers (41%) and receptionists or front of house staff.
Throughout 2020, international companies continued to grow their EMEA sales divisions in Dublin, where they are expanding teams at a fast pace. Sales roles outside of the capital are also growing in demand, including in the West of Ireland where there are ample large companies seeking sales talent to grow their businesses.
To adapt to the uncertain environment, many companies have changed their recruitment strategies, favouring contract placements over permanent offerings. The shift to a more contingent workforce allows these companies to scale while maintaining their flexibility as the unpredictability of the market persists.
Digital, Design and E-Commerce
Like the permanent market, contract digital and design was initially impacted by the pandemic and associated cutbacks, but the market has turned.
In 2021 we're already seeing an increased demand for UX designers, graphic designers and in-house designers who have a range of UX, UI and front-end skills.
There’s also a persistent need for e-commerce and digital professionals to help organisations shift their operations online and ensure their websites are fit for purpose in our new remote world.
Project Management (PMO)
Contract project managers have become increasingly adaptable in their approaches, with some merging different methodologies into fusion processes. We continue to see a demand for project managers, change managers, program managers, hybrid business analysts, scrum, or agile coaches and PMO analysts across professional services, MedTech, technology and FinTech industries.
Experienced project managers with an agile tech capability coupled with strong ‘soft skills’ such as business and stakeholder management are also in demand. These professionals are needed to lead digital transformation programmes and niche projects such as system implementations. The PMO contract market looks buoyant as we enter 2021.
Contractor jobs are growing in popularity and offer benefits to both employer and employee. If you have questions about hiring contract staff or if you're interested in learning more about contracting opportunities though Cpl please get in touch.
You can also download our 2021 Salary Guide which contains more detailed information on salaries and contractor job trends.