With IT roles ranking amongst the most difficult to fill across the world, a growing number of employers in different countries are turning to hybrid workforce solutions by increasing their use of freelancing and contracting IT professionals, a new study has revealed.

Senior IT managers based in ten countries were surveyed by Experis, the professional resourcing and project-based solutions division of ManpowerGroup.

The study finds that companies that enhance their talent pool by accessing contract IT workers are better positioned to plug skills shortages, improve their business flexibility and agility, create a talent pipeline for future development, and conserve organisational knowledge.

But some are struggling to move beyond a single-sourcing model, missing out on the dynamism and flexibility of a more hybrid approach.

The survey shows a considerable variation in in-country hiring practices. The countries that are still relying predominantly on permanent employees include Australia (58 per cent of the IT managers polled there reported this pattern), India (62 per cent) and Germany (63 per cent). However, that proportion falls to 40 per cent in the US, 36 per cent in France and Italy and 30 per cent in the UK, where employers are inclined to adopt a more flexible approach to workforce composition, mixing in-house talent with the expertise of contracting professionals.

While some economies appear to be struggling to adapt to the hybrid approach, the use of contractors, the survey finds, has nonetheless become a growing trend: 71 per cent of employers across the world are currently tapping contract talent – a figure that is projected to climb by 13 per cent in the future.

India and Brazil emerge as the countries tapping into contract talent most heavily, at 87 per cent and 83 per cent respectively.

Commenting on the findings, Experis’ North American Vice President, Sean Costello, said: “As employers continue to be challenged by fast-changing business cycles and growing talent shortages, many are exploring alternative work models to find the skills they need.

“This is especially true in the IT sector, where skills requirements are constantly evolving and the demand for talent is high. The contractor model is often well-suited to this environment, because it offers greater flexibility, and tends to attract the kind of self-motivated individuals who prioritize on-going skills development. Employers that explore all talent options generally have an easier time finding the skills they need.”

The study concludes with the observation that contractors deliver enhanced flexibility and greater cost savings, two crucial benefits for businesses operating in the volatile IT environment.

Experis urges IT leaders to rethink their hiring strategies to achieve a productive balance between permanent and contingent solutions so that their workforces are better positioned to keep up with the continually shifting dynamics of the IT world.

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