We’ve been running our Inside Insight survey for the last six years and it’s been growing ever since we launched the first edition back in 2011. With over 550 internal communications (IC) professionals taking part, it’s now the largest and one of the most comprehensive on the market. Due to the growing demand and popularity for interim management within internal and change communications functions, we’re keen to share the top five take outs from our Inside Insight Internal Communications market report from a contracting perspective.
1. A larger proportion of the communications market is taken up by contractors more than you may think
With teams becoming leaner and hiring managers choosing to recruit specialists on a contractual basis for change programmes, the demand for interim management has increased to 30% of the overall IC market. This has something to do with the added benefits of working on an interim basis. The financial reward, good work-life balance and ability to be seen as a trusted adviser whilst avoiding office politics has made contract work much more desirable for IC professionals.
2. There’s a new wave of contractors coming in to challenge the old guard
Over half of contractors have been contracting for three years or less. We’ve noticed that people are moving into contracting for various reasons; whether it’s a specific career choice, redundancy in a previous role, returning after maternity leave for more flexibility or to gain more skills and experience from different projects. With more experienced IC professionals moving into the contracting space, this has challenged the more experienced contractors in the market and has had a negative impact on the level of day rates they could once achieve.
3. Contracting isn’t as insecure as you may have first thought
The one reason that people may be sceptical about taking the plunge into contract work is the lack of job security. However, our survey showed that nearly 80% of contracts get extended past the originally agreed end date. We see that once a high level IC professional is brought into an organisation on a contractual basis, the client will often have other projects that the contractor can work on so they can move around an organisation on various different projects over a longer period of time. Also, as it’s not always the case that projects finish on time, contractors are extended to complete their assignment on a delayed programme.
4. It’s all about change
61% of contractors are currently working on change programmes. This could be anything from an IT change to a global M&A programme. Although some would argue that all communications have an element of change, we would class the remaining 39% BAU covers such as maternity, sickness or extra resource whilst hiring managers recruit permanently; these contracts may be more channel management and tactical roll-outs as opposed to developing strategies on large scale company change. It’s important to note that these BAU programmes generally work on a fixed term contract (FTC) basis rather than working on a day rate through a limited company.
5. IT change communications is the largest part of the change spaceThe ability to translate complex jargon to simple English has always been a skill in high demand. This is certainly still the case as it’s the IT change space which is the largest of any specialist area. Knowledge of software programmes and experience working with IT stakeholders is becoming more important. All in all, the contractor market is very strong with lots of opportunities in various businesses and sectors across the UK. The change comms space is ever-growing though there will always be a demand for BAU positions with maternity covers and similar roles when communications teams are under-resourced. The flexibility, work-life balance, clear deliverables and high financial reward are the most appealing factors for people deciding to move over to the contracting space.
Written by Matthew Gibbs – UK Consultant
We are currently running our seventh annual Internal Communications UK market survey – Inside Insight 2018, we would love to hear your insights on the sector. The larger the response we receive the more valuable and meaningful the report will be.
If you would like to discuss any of the jobs available or have a general chat regarding our resourcing services across the communications and marketing disciplines in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific, please contact us.