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Daniel CampoMar 27, 20246 min read

Maximizing Talent Flexibility: Onboarding Fractional and Contract Workers

Among one of the biggest changes to the way we work is an about-face turn to non-traditional employment models. Data shared from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows temporary business management roles went up 18% from 2021 to 2022, with an overall increase of 57% since 2020. For the organizations that have fully embraced them, hybridized and fully remote work models continue to be advantageous.

It also makes hiring consultants and recruitment agencies uniquely poised to capitalize on these changes. They generally include two strategies that are gaining traction: hiring fractional or freelance workers who can provide the specialized support on per project, or by long-term engagement.

pexels-viktoria-slowikowska-5332151Along with the introduction of remote and hybrid working environments, both of these trends are reshaping the way companies stay competitive when it comes to talent acquisition. Remote work continues to gain strong popularity. A study conducted by social app company Buffer on the state of remote work shows 98% of respondents would prefer working remotely and would recommend remote work to someone else. Only 1% of respondents surveyed said that their experience was negative.

In Canada, preference for remote work continues: 85% of the total workforce interested in hybrid or remote positions, with around 23% job postings shifting to offer them these options. Given this consistently high demand for remote work opportunities, companies have the ability to regularly attract great talent on a contractual or fractional basis.

In return, by supporting the increased favourability of remote or hybrid work models, consultancies and recruitment agencies have the chance to help clients staff an agile workforce, capable of adapting amidst constant change while keeping a network of prevetted professionals at the ready for future projects.

Breaking it down: fractional versus freelance work

So how exactly has this trend become so prominent? What does it mean for a person to be employed fractionally, or “on-demand” as we call it at Oomple? Previously, we wrote about how the paradigm shift in our perception and approach to work would also cause a shift in recruitment strategies for hiring agencies. Fractional work differs slightly from contractor work in a few ways, though most often, both styles go hand in hand with remote work environments.


As is often the case, a fractional worker is often someone who’s highly specialized in their area of expertise, and have the flexibility to be able to apply these skills to a range of businesses and scenarios. In Canada, roughly 14% of all workers are now working on an independent or self-employed basis as of 2022. They dedicate a number of hours out of their schedules on a monthly or weekly basis to a dedicated position that seeks to achieve or advise on a specific goal. Given their level of professional experience, many fractional workers serve in roles that where a full-time employee might be too costly. For example, there are many fractional executives who offer their own style of unique management expertise for companies that otherwise couldn’t afford a full-time executive role.


Contract or freelance workers, on the other hand, tend to operate on a project or per-task basis, providing services for an agreed upon length of time (which may only be the time required to reach objectives). In a 2022 survey from Upwork, 73% of freelancers have seen an uptick in favourability since the global pandemic. And like fractional employees freelancers are equally specialized in their fields of work, but generally work for themselves as sole business owners.


They agree upon services required for the client, and work along specified guidelines to achieve target business objectives. For example, let’s say your media company has a huge task to get edited for a major client. Their production house might look to hire a small team of skilled video editors to get the job done fast, and effectively.


Both the terms fractional and freelance describe the same independent nature of these roles, and both also provide workers with a range of different levels of autonomy. Many agree that it also creates a stronger work-life balance. Notably, freelancing is also highly preferable among Gen Z workers. 


The Advantage of Fractional and Contract Workers


As talent-sourcing agencies are often aware, costs of onboarding a brand new full-time employee can sometimes be too high a barrier for some clients. Consultants might also develop strategies for their clients based on keeping these costs low. But given the expected higher rates of turnover from Canadian companies this year and the added pressure placed on the workers who stay behind, the costs are more than just financial. That’s one of the primary advantages to hiring fractional or freelance workers: finding ways to keep costs efficient while still producing high value work is easy, and accessible. Companies that are unable to afford expenses such as benefits, office space, and equipment, can rely on fractional and freelance workers to operate remotely.


By offering companies the flexibility to tap into a network of contractual and fractional professionals, professional recruiters can offer clients the edge they need to fulfill their staffing needs, reduce overhead costs and seek out the right cultural fit for their company. Let’s say you’re a hiring agency looking to fill a position for product manager. The client has a short-term objective to get their product into market, and their team currently lacks the expertise required to meet their go-to-market live date the following quarter.


Without the time to onboard a brand new full-time employee, companies in this position may reach out to recruitment professionals to help them fill the gap with a freelance or fractional employee instead. Timing in these cases is key: it’s why more companies are realizing the advantages of having teams of vetted professionals they can quickly connect with for the skills and capacity to take on projects and help see them through. This can lead to greater satisfaction of both employers and flexible job seekers.


Our network brings a wealth of specialized skills and expertise into one easy to use platform, allowing recruitment agencies to source from a diverse talent pool for the right candidate. We help promote and enhance operational agility and scalability, so that hiring agencies can react on the fly to client adjustments based on project demands, market conditions, or strategic shifts. And when the demand for remote and flexible work has never been higher, we ensure that your talent pipeline is robust with the best people for the job.


Embracing the Shift


Changes around the nature of work always create great opportunities, which is where Oomple shines. We help recruitment agencies take advantage of the converging trends rising fractional and freelance workers, with the increasing adoption of attractive remote and hybrid work models. It’s a transformative shift in the way companies approach talent acquisition – and we’re ready to help recruitment professionals navigate it every step of the way. 


By embracing this new future of work, companies can position themselves as agile, competitive, and attractive employers in the modern era. It’s time you maximize your progressive workforce strategy. Contact us today for a free demo, and see how Oomple can empower your clients and candidates. 



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