The 3 types of contractors – and why you should hire them through ClearHub

team of contractors
team of contractors

The 3 types of contractors – and why you should hire them through ClearHub

Do you want to hire software contractors, but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Research reveals that most tech firms use contract workers to meet 40 to 50 percent of their staffing needs.

Whether you need to fill a skills gap or just need  short-term help for a specific project, a contractor can bring many benefits to your business. For starters, they are often a more cost-effective option, compared to permanent hire, as you don’t have to provide any workplace benefits and usually work with them in the short-term. Plus, they can bring in a level of expertise into your organization to boost your business processes and projects or train up your staff.

However, not all contractors are the same, and many businesses struggle to find quality candidates with the right IT skills and experience.

At ClearHub, we understand that you need to ensure that whoever fills your role can complete the tasks assigned to them as efficiently as possible, providing you with good value for money and a guaranteed level of expertise.

That’s why every contractor we work with is technically tested by an industry expert in the skills that are important to you, so you can be sure they can get the job done. If, for any reason, you’re not happy with a contractor, we’ll find a replacement quickly and at no additional cost to your business. Plus, we offer Platinum Partner level technical support to our contractors. We’re proud to offer this level of support to contractors and organisations alike – it’s what sets us apart from the competition, and is the core reason we’ve bene in business for 20+ years.

We work with a range of specialist IT contractors, focusing on the following areas and addressing the following business requirements:

Atlassian Contractors: If you need to improve communication at your organisation

Atlassian’s extensive suite of tools help teams work smarter, helping companies run their communications as smoothly and efficiently as possible. However, Atlassian is a complex platform, and its usage often grows beyond individual teams, spanning entire organisations thanks to the benefits it provides.

As such, many businesses need to find an expert or number of experts to provide support within managing Atlassian tools.

Most businesses need Atlassian contractors that can help in one of the following three areas: to set up a new platform, manage your existing platforms and train your staff to use these platforms.

At ClearHub, we hire certified contractors with a range of specialist Atlassian knowledge, including expert Jira and Confluence contractors.

Did you know that the average large organisation tracks 1.4 million issues through a single Jira instance? Our Jira contractors can help you:

  • Set up your Jira software, exploring your business needs and working with you to develop workflows to support your IT teams.
  • Manage your existing Jira deployment, helping you find a better way for your IT teams to manage incidents. For example, you could hire a software contractor to manage the maintenance of your workflows, permissions, issue types and so on.
  • Train your teams to understand how to use Jira in the most effective manner. Whether you need basic training or helping your staff understand a specific feature, your contractor will make sure everyone is making the most out of Jira.

Confluence is a collaboration wiki tool to help teams share knowledge efficiently. Our Confluence contractors can help you:

  • Set up your Confluence wiki and/or migrate your existing intranet portal to ensure it has the information and functionality you need.
  • Manage your existing Confluence wiki. They can, for example, restructure your architecture, index your documentation, manage user permissions and install plugins.
  • Train and mentor your stakeholders, instilling best practices so you can make the most of the functionality.Agile Contractors: If you need to streamline your projects to deliver on time and on budget

Agile principles can help you deliver your products quickly and efficiently. However, instilling an agile culture in your workplace can be difficult. So, many organisations decide to bring in external agile experts to spearhead this transformation. At ClearHub, we work with a range of Agile experts, including:

  • Agile coaches: to help you rethink and change the ways you go about your development process, addressing issues such as workflow practices and team collaboration.
  • Scrum masters: to help team members understand and use the values and principles of agile development.
  • Agile project managers: to plan, lead, organise and motivate agile teams, delivering projects on time and on budget.

DevOps Contractors: If you want to foster innovation and collaboration

A DevOps approach effectively assimilates your development and operations teams to improve collaboration. Research reveals that companies that adopt this way of working deliver software quickly, reliably and safely.

However, there is a massive skills shortage in this area, and many organisations are struggling to find the specialist skills required to fill their roles. At ClearHub, we can help you take your DevOps to the next level and work with experts including:

  • DevOps engineers: from infrastructure and automation to scripting, we have a broad range of skill sets in our network of contractors to help you bring momentum and expertise to your project.
  • DevOps managers: to help you develop a DevOps strategy that is aligned with resilience, cost and performance in mind.
  • Cloud engineers: our CloudOps engineers can setup, configure and integrate your systems so everything runs smoothly in the cloud.

In Conclusion

At ClearHub, we have 20+ years of experience matching the right contractor to the right project. We’ve helped organisations find highly motivated and skilled contractors to meet the demands of their business requirements. As a result, those organisations have got products to market faster and improved their efficiency.

If you decide to hire an Atlassian, agile or DevOps contractor with us, our guarantee and expertise in the recruitment field take the risk out of this process. If you’d like to find out more about how we work, please contact one of the team today.

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Rise & Grind, 5 Gig Economy Facts

Rise and Grind

Rise & Grind, 5 Gig Economy Facts

Remote workers have been able to work over the internet since the dawn of the digital age. It’s likely they had a massive impact on the rise of gig workers, opening the minds of employers to the concept of flexible working practises.

It looks as though temporary work is headed in the same direction, with more employers seeking help from freelance workers.

  1. 40% of organisations expect gig economy workers to join their workforce in the near future

With the gig economy on the rise, more businesses seem to be embracing the idea of freelance workers with corporations of all sectors now rapidly expanding their teams.

One of the reasons behind this is the money employers are saving not hiring full-time employees to fulfil business needs.

  1. 30% increase in gig-work platforms
    The rise in platforms advertising gig work comes as no surprise considering the increase in freelance workers. Business-minded individuals are seizing the opportunity to set up hubs for freelancers who want to advertise their talents to businesses seeking temporary workers. Of course such platforms existed prior to the increase but more are emerging, with some dedicated to niche sectors e.g. software contractors. We are a perfect example of this.
  2. 20% of freelancers say they’d prefer full-time employment
    Obviously gig work isn’t for everyone, but even with this in mind, a whopping 80% of gig workers wouldn’t return or opt for full-time opportunities; 45% of them state they’d seek to acquire new clients in order to meet financial goals if it came to it.

Freelancers tend to work longer hours for less. This doesn’t sound appealing to some, but for many the pros outweigh the cons, with flexibility being one of the main reasons why temporary work is preferred. This includes working from home, spending more quality time with family, having time to take online courses, voluntary work and so on. This has seen a shift in the working mindset, as the saying goes, you don’t live to work, you work to live.

  1. All industries have freelancers

Traditionally gig work has been associated with freelance writing, web development and information based jobs. However, with the benefits of the gig economy, people from all backgrounds are now entering the new era. Workers from all of these sectors and more can now be seen working on a freelance basis:

  • Graphic Design
  • Finance
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • IT
  • Marketing
  • Admin
  • Sales
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  1. Limitations in skill sets are no longer an issue when it comes to gig work

Prior to the rise of freelancers in the gig economy, many first time workers were put off by their own lack of expertise to even attempt to pursue freelance work, thinking employers would show no interest in them if they had no prior in-house experience.

With the increase in employers now seeking freelancers, this has widened opportunities and provided a boost in confidence for first time workers. I think it’s fair to say that the younger generation are more inclined to “be their own boss”, which is down to a change in attitude, and the emergence of the digital age. With freelancers having better access to resources, they can now work from anywhere in the world from any number of devices. This change in attitude is slowly passing on to open-minded members of the older generation.

Although skill-level is still important to many employers seeking temporary workers, they are becoming more open-minded with the change in attitude.

Is there a downside?

Gig workers are charging more for their services and businesses are paying what they’re asking because they know hiring a permanent employee actually costs them more in the long-run.

As a result of higher fees for highly-skilled freelancers, individuals starting out are charging less for their work. Although this can be seen as a positive in that it increases their chances of success in finding temporary work, the danger sits in the fact that they are also vulnerable to exploitation, with some employers paying far less than what they should be.

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Podcasts Galore

Podcasts Galore

Podcasts Galore

We bring you… all podcasts related to ClearHub below!

In October 2018, we brought Chief Innovation Officer Simon Wood from ClearHub, and Senior Technical Trainer Paul Christie from Clearvision together, to discuss all things training, consultancy and ClearHub. Using real life examples to demonstrate how both businesses provide transformations and more, Paul and Simon reveal everything one needs to know to better their software.

In March 2019, ClearHub’s Chief Innovation Officer Simon Wood and Chief Revenue Officer Paul Renshaw, got together to discuss the emergence of the gig economy in all its forms. With more millennial’s seeking contract work, Clearvision’s sister company ClearHub is only expected to grow with the times. Using both personal and professional examples, Simon and Paul take a deep dive into the matter, leaving little to the imagination in this part 1 debate. For anyone interested in taking up contract work now or in the future, this podcast is a must!

And now, as of May 2019, listeners can enjoy Chief Innovation Officer Simon Wood and Chief Revenue Officer Paul Renshaw, as they continue their discussion on the emergence of the gig economy in all its forms. With more people seeking contract work, Clearvision’s sister company ClearHub (responsible for connecting businesses with the best Atlassian contractors out there) is only expected to grow. Using both personal and professional examples, Simon and Paul take a deep dive into the matter, leaving little to the imagination in this part 2 debate. For anyone interested in taking up contract work now or in the future, this podcast is a must hear!

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New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals increasing demand for contractors

Increasing demand for contractors
Increasing demand for contractors

New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals increasing demand for contractors

We told you the gig economy was here, and the latest statistics produced by the REC only go to prove this.

New data from the REC revealed an increasing demand for contractors in the workplace.
Almost half (46%) of UK employers demonstrated concern over the availability of permanent candidates and their lack of experience in specific areas, namely Engineering & Technical skills.

Out of the surveyed employers 80% had either no surplus workforce capacity, or such a small amount that they’d need to hire more staff to tackle the issue. To increase business productivity 83% planned on offering training and upskilling opportunities to staff as a solution.

Interestingly, the data also showed that employers are increasing the number of permanent workers as a short term solution (despite the sudden increase in the need for contractors). Employers looking for a short term solution, went as far as developing plans to help permanent employees with the ever-changing business needs that come with digital transformation.

  • 71% of employers plan on promoting diversity and inclusion
  • 58% plan on offering flexible working practices in an effort to increase the productivity of permanent employees

How can they BOTH be on the rise?

It’s not surprising that employers are continuing to hire permanent employees, considering they’ve always been in higher demand than contractors. The sudden increase in companies seeking temporary workers however, is just the start. It’s only a matter of time before the percentage of businesses seeking contract workers surpasses that of those seeking permanent employees.

Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, Neil Carberry, suggested a reason for why the number of employers seeking agency workers had risen stating that, “businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face.”

Don’t be afraid of the unknown

In the face of digital transformation, contract workers have become more desirable to businesses of all sectors.

Why? Because they’re experienced in specific areas, and continue to expand on skills through the various contract roles they take on. They’re generally more adaptable because of this, which makes them ideal candidates in a time of digital evolution.

Not everyone is sold

Many employers remain hesitant, with 34% expressing concern over the necessary skills required by temporary workers to fulfil their business needs. This could be down to the fact that they’ve not had to use contractors before, whatever their reasoning, the fact of the matter is that contractors are highly skilled in specific areas to ensure they fulfil business needs.

Not every project needs to last forever, and in such circumstances, a permanent candidate isn’t always the best solution. A temporary worker stays for a preferred amount of time to get a specific task done; by not having a single job dragged out, the wider business can focus on other priorities and progress at a faster rate.

Did you know? ClearHub place Atlassian contractors, who are technically tested by an industry expert in the skills most important to you. If you decide at any point that the contractor we provide you with isn’t working out for your business needs, our risk free guarantee means we’ll replace your contractor free of charge. There’s nothing
to fear with ClearHub.

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Recruitment and AI

Recruitment and AI

Recruitment and AI

Business and personal solutions involving the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are emerging across nearly all industry sectors. But what does this mean for recruitment? As it turns out, a huge amount, and whether you are a hiring manager, a recruiter or simply a happily employed worker it’s likely to directly affect your life in one way or another over the next few years.  

AI vs Machine Learning

The terms ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘machine learning’ are often used interchangeably, but if you really want to get your head around emerging technologies it’s important to understand the difference. According to Bernard Marr:

“Artificial Intelligence is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart”.

Whereas;

“Machine Learning is a current application of AI based around the idea that we should be able to give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.”

The most exciting new developments are  focused on machine learning. That is, software designed to read and interpret past data (and the decisions made around it) and to use that knowledge to make or shape decisions for the future.

A simple example can be found in your own inbox. If you frequently mark emails of a certain type or from a certain sender as spam, the system will learn this behaviour and begin to do it automatically.

Machine Learning can lead to software making predictions based on correlated data. For example, forecasted bad weather may cause a spike in sales of winter coats, which is particularly useful if you are a clothing retailer.

Machine learning can also provide entirely new ways of doing things such as automatically generating personality profiles based on an individual’s social media posts (as opposed to relying on questionnaire results). Finally, machine learning can share big data, where thousands (or millions) of inputs help to create accurate predictions by responding to different stimuli. This is how Google’s algorthims can now predict what you are trying to write when you have only just started typing a sentence.

Applications in Recruitment

There is a huge amount to consider, when investigating the potential of AI in recruitment (for example video interview platforms that can automatically assess voice quality, energy levels, body language as well as the answers given to tricky questions) but, we want to focus on what is currently available, and already being used by  recruiters.

Sourcing Applicants

AI is increasingly used in the sourcing of applicants, with the development of software that scans the internet for online profiles. These tools read and interpret the profile information to identify matches against a predefined job description. As well as software reviewing ‘active’ information such as job boards, the latest developments in AI can now look at ‘passive’ information such as Linkedin pages, facebook and twitter feeds, about.me profiles, blogs, personal websites and so on, to build a comprehensive profile of a candidate who may well not be looking for a new role.

One such AI tool is Arya. Ayra can be used to scan social profiles and sites to find possible candidates for job roles. As well as identifying the candidate, Arya has built-in functionality to source their contact info, and provides an accessible breakdown of their skills and experience.

Software that identifies passive candidates (people who are likely to move but not actively seeking new employment) and estimates how attractive they might find the new company can actively learn from human feedback. For example, if the system matches someone who is not a suitable match, it will ask for an explanation to avoid doing the same thing again.  

This can be incredibly useful for recruiters trying to find highly specialised or difficult to source candidates.  

Screening Applicants

Once a selection of candidates have been sourced, one of the most time-consuming tasks can be to screen them all. Not only is this a laborious and administrative heavy task but when you have a large number of CV’s to get through human error or bias often means that strong candidates are missed.

Software can use machine learning to scan through CV’s and match specific skills and experience to the job description by pulling out keywords, dates, job titles and time in roles. Once candidates have been shortlisted, automated assistants or chatbots (like Recruitment Bot) can be used to carry out the initial stages of interview screening, by gathering key information such as an applicants right to work in certain areas, clarifying key skills, or even just checking their availability for an interview.  

As far as this technology goes, many large recruiters are already using some version of chatbots, and both employers and job seekers alike seem to find it effective, with responses that sound human and the ability to recognise the answers needed.

AI creation

Engaging Applicants

Various AI functionality has also been created to help recruiters engage talent. So, once AI has highlighted the right candidates and assessed their likelihood to engage with an opportunity, AI systems can also handle the initial contact. This intial approcah can be combined with answering simple questions the candidate might have and keeping candidates engaged with a role anytime of day.

AI systems will often be able to synchronise across multiple systems, such as email, chatbots on your website and even facebook messenger. The AI will be constantly finding the best ways to communicate with your clients.

Want to know what your potential applicants will make of AI tools? Check out this great article on the candidate’s perspective.

What are the risks?

Like with any new technology, there are risks that come with AI solutions.

The first thing to note is that with a lot of this new technology, there’s a good chance that it may not work exactly as you imagined it.

Learned Behaviour

The very concept of machine learning means that it adapts its behaviours based on what it learns from the data provided, so one thing to be aware of (especially with chatbot services) is that the users will influence the behaviour of the technology.

I’m sure many of you will have heard of “Tay” the AI Twitter bot created by Microsoft in 2016. Soon after it’s release, interactions with other Twitter users caused the bot to start producing racist and sexually charged tweets, leading to it being suspended.

Although ‘Tay’ was just an experiment, it also provides a valuable lesson in the potential pitfalls of machine learning bots and the importance of monitoring the information that is fed to them.

AI office

Saving time/ resources

Although many people may see AI technology as a fantastic way to save time, in the early stages this may not be the case. With the technology in its early days, you may find that you spend as much time monitoring and maintaining the software as you save with the job.

Even when the software is running as intended, it is fairly clear that we are not yet at a stage where AI can fully replace human recruiters. So while you may save time for the recruiters and hopefully improve their efficiency with these tools, it will still be important to value the significance of a human touch point.

Next Steps

Whether or not you choose to implement AI software into your current recruitment process should depend on what level your recruitment is at currently.

If you already have a large in-house recruitment team (or are a recruitment agency) and you’re looking for software that can help you automate certain process and improve your efficiency, there are some great solutions that involve machine learning that can benefit you.

If your recruitment team is made up of only one or two people, there may still be some solutions you could introduce slowly, but it’s important to make sure that you’re not creating more work for your team. For a recruitment team of this size, you may also find a lot of the new software to be outside of your teams budget.

If you currently outsource your recruitment and were hoping AI might be a solution to bring it back in-house, the reality is that the tools are not at this stage yet, and even as they develop they will require a lot of attention and maintenance.

Overall, there are a variety of different tools that you may find useful but it is also incredibly important to make sure this software is monitored, as the effect of ‘bad learning’ could have wide spreading consequences (here’s another example regarding Amazons recruiting tool).

For most teams, it’s probably still best left to established recruiting companies to use the software to help find the best people for your team, as they will be able to pair the software with the experience to make sure you get the best candidate, every time.

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6 Compelling reasons to hire an IT Contractor Over a Full-Time Employee

6-Reasons-to-hire-an-it-contractor-ch-ClearHub
6-Reasons-to-hire-an-it-contractor-ch-ClearHub
Aaron Rowsell

Aaron Rowsell

6 Compelling reasons to hire an IT Contractor Over a Full-Time Employee

Whether you are watching TV or scrolling through your social media feed, you can’t hide from the fact that everyone is talking about the Gig economy.

As a nation it would seem as though we can’t get enough when it comes to talking about work! And one topic which is coming ever more popular is whether or not to hire an IT contractor over an employee.

In this article I discuss what hiring a contractor could do for your business to help it grow and succeed.

6 Compelling reasons to hire an IT Contractor Over a Full-Time Employee

1. Open up your business’ flexibility

With today’s ever-changing economy and marketplace, hiring an IT contractor over a full-time employee can serve multiple benefits.

Contractors help to create flexibility within your business, whether they’re there to serve a specific purpose short-term or for a long-term project.

When employing a contractor, you have no obligations to carry the person on longer than you need them, compared to a full time employee.

A full time employee may have to change their role over time depending upon the journey of your business, and may end up in a position they’re not the best fit for.

2. Watch what you spend

Contrary to popular belief, hiring an IT contractor may not cost your business a considerable amount more money.

It’s no rumour that contractors can earn more than a salary employee, however when budgeting for a full-time employee you need to take into consideration more than just the annual salary.

A full-time employee may require training courses compared to a specialised contractor. Additionally full-time employment also require sick and holiday pay.

Once you total these costs compared to hiring an IT contractor, you can see the significant difference.

3. Productivity starts immediately

The 2016 Workforce Productivity Report, released by World Market and KRC Research, reveals nearly half of all business leaders believe that contract workers are more productive than full-time employee.

This is because a specialised contractor doesn’t require any training and is able to hit the ground running from the beginning.

A full time employee, on the other hand, will require an induction period, including training.

Comparing the level of high standard work may compare however on a timescale, the contractor will produce the work in a shorter time frame.

4. Cut your recruitment time

Hiring a full time employee can be a lengthy process.

Whether it’s a small business with higher management searching for them or there is a number of trained staff dedicated to recruiting new staff, a lot of time needs to be set aside for this.

Between writing and posting job adverts, reading tonnes of resumes to getting through the interview stages, you can lose hours of time that could have been spent on more productive tasks.

Often when hiring a contractor, you can go through agencies who have a rich pool of specialised contractors who have already been checked thoroughly and are waiting to be matched to you.

5. Reduce your commitment

When you hire an IT contractor, it can also be a good way to give a potential employee a “test run” without any of the commitment.

If you have been involved in hiring or working within a team we have all come across people who despite give off an amazing first impression falls short of expectations once they’ve been hired.

With contractors, there is no reason why you aren’t able to keep them on full-time or extend their contract if they show tremendous value added to your business.

6. Providing extra value

As stated, when you’re hiring a contractor, you’re hiring a specialised skill set and this could serve great purpose to your company.

A contractor can be beneficial to the existing staff of a business as the contractor can help train the existing workers in their specialised field.

Additionally,  showing them new methods of working which continues to encourage your business’ flexibility.

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