Hiring of seasonal and year-end contract staff remains part of most companies’ plans as 2021 comes to an end. A survey of 2,800 senior managers by talent solutions and business consulting firm Robert Half found that 74 percent of respondents plan on bringing in contract workers to support year-end initiatives. Companies in the technology, finance and health-care industries have the greatest contract hiring needs.

To accomplish this goal, many companies are partnering with outside agencies that have access to remote talent to allow them to hire faster. Previous Robert Half research shows nearly eight in 10 companies (78 percent) are willing to look outside their city to find skilled job candidates, given talent shortages. In addition, many employers are leveraging outside agencies to help recruit (44 percent), onboard (33 percent) and manage (46 percent) contract workers.

“This time of year, companies have urgent hiring needs and are tapping contract professionals to help with cyclical projects and spikes in business activity,” says Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “Partnering with an outside agency that has access to remote talent allows companies to hire faster and meet business demands.”

Vacation plans are another consideration in companies’ contract-hiring decision-making. They may bring on additional contract talent to ensure projects stay on track during the holiday season. In a separate survey of workers, respondents said they plan to take an average of seven days off by the end of the year; professionals in the legal and technology fields will request the most time off.

McDonald adds, “Companies should anticipate a rush of vacation requests in the final months of the year and plan for staff absences. Adding headcount now can help minimize disruptions, maximize productivity and prevent employee burnout.”

The survey found strong demand for contract workers in several areas. These include:

  • Tax time and budgeting: Accountants are needed to manage heavy workloads and prepare for tax season. AP/AR specialists and payroll managers are sought to process invoices and payments and prepare budgets and financial reports.
  • Open enrollment: Companies seek human resources and administrative professionals to handle an increased volume of work, including HR benefits specialists to answer enrollment and benefits-related questions and data entry specialists to support back-office functions.
  • Back-to-school activities: Education institutions require assistance with pandemic-related tasks such as resuming on-campus operations, creating secure virtual workspaces for remote and hybrid learning, conducting student contact tracing and managing federal funds.
  • IT security: As organizations deploy new applications and digital services, they seek data security analysts and network security administrators to monitor and respond to security incidents.
  • Ecommerce: Brands and agencies are engaging marketing professionals, such as copywriters, digital marketing specialists and front-end developers, to execute holiday campaigns and optimize online shopping experiences.
  • Legal priorities: Corporate legal departments are bringing on contract administrators to handle the review, abstraction and negotiation of agreements set to expire or renew at year-end, while law firms are adding litigation support analysts and paralegals to support rising caseloads.