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Tap Into Your ‘Passive Contractors’ Pool and Make the Most of the Gig Economy

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There’s no question the gig economy is here to stay. In fact, new research from HealthTech start-up WeMa Life reveals that more than six million UK workers are already self-employed or working as contractors, and a further six per cent are considering the transition this coming year – that’s another 1.56 million people.

However, this report also highlights an additional 28 per cent of professionals in full-time permanent employment who’d like to work in the gig economy but are held back for a number of reasons, including a lack of confidence that they could earn enough money. For agencies, this untapped candidate pool has huge potential, provided you can engage with them before the competition does. Here’s how to get ahead.

Position Your Agency as Contract Experts Through Marketing

First and foremost, your business will need a targeted and persuasive marketing strategy that not only actively engages with ‘passive contractors’ by addressing any hesitation preventing them moving into the gig economy, but also clearly shows why contracting via your agency will work best for them. Pushing out key messages, such as the vast benefits contracting can have for career development and the great work/life balance it can create is one way to encourage these individuals to take the plunge.

However, research also suggests potential contractors have other practical concerns which compelling marketing messages can address. A significant number – 42 per cent – say a key factor deterring them is that they don’t know how to connect with potential employers. It’s here that recruiters can really capitalise.

Send a clear message through your marketing that candidates don’t have to find jobs themselves because, as specialists, you can do this for them. This communicates to clients that you can remove this significant pain point, positioning your brand as the go-to agency for contractors. To demonstrate this, provide redeployment case studies to show how effectively you’ve been able to match contractors with clients. The ease with which your recruitment software enables you to place them on assignment, providing a smooth onboarding process will not only reassure passive candidates but also clearly demonstrate the benefit of contracting through your business.

Notably, 39 per cent of prospective freelancers feel they don’t know how to issue invoices or take payments. Your agency can again leverage this level of uncertainty to engage with passive contractors by communicating the benefits of the systems you have in place which enable you to oversee the payroll process in a timely and, crucially, compliant manner.

Provide an Outstanding Contractor Experience

As WeMa’s research demonstrates, the gig economy shows no sign of abating. So, while attracting passive talent is crucial, so too is ensuring you provide an outstanding service to existing freelancers – who will refer you to others – as well as future contractors. As competition for skills increases, future success lies in your ability to stand out from the crowd and be seen as an expert in your field.

And in an era where online reviews and word of mouth spreads quickly, it’s more important than ever to provide an outstanding candidate experience at every touch point. Agencies engaging with contractors efficiently at all stages of the recruitment and onboarding process – and address any challenges that may arise – will substantially increase their chances of retaining these professionals and managing their ongoing career.

There’s no doubt that more professionals will choose the contract route as the gig-economy grows. And while agencies continue to adapt their strategies to offer a more robust contractor placement solution, there’s a huge group of passive contractors that remain untouched. Now really is the time to tap into this pool of talent and develop a truly competitive offering.


Keen to up your candidate sourcing game even further? Check out our ultimate guide to candidate sourcing for key tips and tricks.