Skills shortage drives reluctant execs to contractors

The skills shortage is driving chief executives to use contractors and temporary workers, despite their preference for full-time staff, a new survey of Australian chief executives shows.

Over 80% of 248 chief executives surveyed in early 2008 by The Executive Connection said they believe full-time staff are more productive by far than other staff.

But 57% said they are nonetheless using contractors or temps rather than hiring full-time staff.

TEC regional chair Barry Upfold says the finding reflects that employers are having to make do with non-ideal staffing arrangements in the current tight labour market.

“Chief executives would prefer to take on full-time staff, but the skills shortage is quite horrific and that has been reflected in the result of this and previous surveys,” Upfold says.

TEC’s survey also revealed that Australian chief executives are being more pro-active in implementing measures to retain staff:

  • 79% of chief executives say they offered positive culture.
  • 59% had increased salary.
  • 53% had improved training.
  • 40% had improved promotion prospects for staff.
  • 31% had improved staff working hours.

Chief executives are waking up to the more transient attitude to work of Gen-Y employees, with almost half of chief executives saying they believe that 35-49 year olds will stay longer in a job.

On the economy, chief executives reflected the general view that the Australian economy is about to enter a period of lower growth.

Close to 40% believe the economy is worse than this time last year, and 52% believe things are going to get worse in the next 12 months.


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