Variety and freedom ‘key to staff retention’

The study by outsourced employment provider Parasol revealed that skilled professionals who have left ‘traditional employment’ to embark on a career in freelancing and contracting view lifestyle benefits as the main attraction of their new working arrangement.

More than 70 per cent of respondents cited lifestyle factors, such as the freedom and flexibility on offer, the variety of working on different assignments and work-life balance as their favourite thing about being a contractor or freelancer.

In contrast, just 29 per cent said earnings potential was the principal advantage.

The emphasis on lifestyle factors over money was most pronounced amongst contractors and freelancers working in digital, media and creative. Just 24 per cent of respondents working in these sectors answered that earnings potential was their favourite thing about contracting.

The survey suggests that a slightly higher proportion of contractors working in engineering and manufacturing, IT and technology and pharmaceuticals and life sciences are motivated by money.

Between 30 per cent and 32 per cent of contractors working in each of these sectors said earnings potential was the biggest draw for them.

Parasol managing director Derek Kelly said: “These results will make interesting reading for business owners and HR professionals keen to retain their best employees.

“In many cases, individuals are driven to embark on a contracting career by a determination to enjoy greater flexibility and an improved work-life balance.

“Forward-thinking organisations that can find ways to offer these benefits will have a better chance of retaining their best thinkers and discouraging them from going down the contracting route.”

Cheshire-based Parasol has provided employment services to more than 70,000 skilled, professional career contractors since its launch in 2000.

Career contractors and freelancers who join Parasol become employees of the company, entitling them to a contract of employment and a wide range of rights and benefits – including holiday entitlement, sick pay, access to a workplace pension and a guaranteed 336 hours of work every year.

The company provides outsourced employment solutions to more than 2,500 UK recruitment firms.