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Bespoke Careers

09 November 2023

09 November 2023

Why Architecture & Design Studios Benefit from Hiring Contract and Temporary Staff

Picture this scenario: you’re looking for your next designer or architect and are working out a budget to hire them on a permanent basis. It soon dawns on you that the recruitment process could take months. Hiring a temporary worker is a quick solution to bringing in the skills needed, and knowing the cost upfront can alleviate any uncertainty.

No matter which part of the world you’re in, it’s likely your business is operating in a complex market where demand is unpredictable while deadlines must still be met.

We’re in a chopping and changing environment that demands a certain nimbleness in how businesses manage their teams. To that end, hiring contractors or temporary workers is an effective way to steer through this complexity.

Here, I’ll delve into the reasons why firms and studios are hiring contractors and what to be aware of when engaging with temporary workers for your teams.

Speed and Flexibility in Uncertain Times

When pursuing potential projects or vying for a competition win, hiring contractors allows your business to complete early-stage work without committing to long-term headcount.

It’s not uncommon for businesses to wait until the last minute to hire, given the need to ensure a client has first signed on the dotted line.

But recruitment timeframes for permanent roles simply don't offer much leeway. In fact, our number-crunching reveals the average time it takes to fill a permanent role is 55 days, although depending on the scarcity of the candidate as much as up to six months.

Meanwhile, we’re helping firms and studios hire and onboard skilled contractors and temporary workers within several days.

Contractors, given their project experience and ability to hit the ground running, can enhance your company's agility by adapting quickly to the role and strengthening teams as demand dictates. It’s not uncommon for us to place temporary staff into a firm who complete projects in half the expected time due to their experience. Their capabilities allow for more last-minute hiring, and in turn, faster movement on projects.

Add Critical Skills to Your Teams

As contractors and temporary workers broaden your potential talent pool, you can access skills that might not be available using a permanent hiring approach.

At Bespoke Careers, our contractor network includes many mid- and senior-level professionals with solid skillsets who value job flexibility but are no less ambitious than early-career upstarts. We work with many accomplished local architects and designers who prefer contracting work to permanent roles, and who happen to be returning to work after raising a family or having taken a career break.

A key advantage of working with these architects and designers is their decades-long experience; they simply know how to get settled in quickly and start delivering on project milestones. With those capabilities, we see contractors getting the job done in half the amount of time a less experienced permanent worker can. In fact, one of our long-standing clients explained: "Thanks to our long-standing partnership with Bespoke Careers, we’ve been able to confidently meet our long and short-term personnel needs flexibly and seamlessly in order to address surges in demand, through the power of a balanced mix of both permanent and contract staff hires".

An International Talent Pool

Temporary and contract recruitment enables your business to draw talent spanning the UK, US and Australia. With offices in all these regions, Bespoke Careers regularly matches opportunities to professionals who are eager to start a new career chapter abroad.

Over the past 12 months, for example, we’ve seen a considerable rise in the number of Australian and New Zealand candidates coming to the UK — marking a return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.

These candidates bring with them valuable design and software skills, benefiting firms in areas where it matters most. Contractors from Australia, for example, often have advanced skills in software like Revit, which is in high demand in the UK.

Recent mutual recognition agreements between ARB, NCARB, AACA and NZRAB have facilitated an easier pathway for professionals to work across the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand with credentials from one of those countries. This creates more opportunities for firms to engage contractor talent across these borders.

How to Streamline Your Contractor Hiring

Hiring contractors and temporary workers requires different legwork to permanent employees, so it’s important to understand your obligations around compliance and administration. Thankfully, this is so much easier when working with an agency that knows the space and has a dedicated contractor department.

Screening Candidates

Firms hire contractors on the assumption they have proven experience — and that’s where a recruiter’s screening capabilities prove valuable.

Our team at Bespoke Careers consists of people who are designers and architects themselves, so they can identify the candidates who have truly delivered on projects and have the technical abilities required for the role. We’ll use the most effective tools to screen and test a candidate’s abilities, including KnowledgeSmart assessments.

Managing Pay Frequency and Variability

Contractors often expect to be paid more frequently (usually weekly), and their hours may vary. Your organisation will need a system in place to accommodate these variations. Hiring through an agency can help streamline this process, as they have dedicated payroll and timesheet management systems to support teams of contractors.

Tax Obligations

In the UK, US and Australia, all employers are obligated to classify their contract workers under the correct tax and pay category.

Whether you’re hiring contractors inside or outside of IR35 in the UK, under I9 in the US, or under an ABN or TFN in Australia, it’s vital to know which category and pay rates will apply. We can give you the guidance you need on this.

Working with reputable architecture and design recruitment specialists can help you handle all the admin without incurring undue risks or expenses.

To learn more about how Bespoke Careers can help you source skilled architecture and design professionals for contract and temporary roles, contact us today. With offices in the UKUS and Australia, our teams have real-world backgrounds in architecture and design. If you’re ready to build your best team, we’re ready to help you get started.

Author: Jimmy Bent, Managing Director, Bespoke Careers

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