Interim Contracts are Ideal for Both the Employer and the Procurement Specialist

In a recent issue of Supply Management , Pat Law writes that “contractors tend to do well in a downturn, as organizations switch to more flexible forms of employment”. While this is written in the context of the UK and EU, it applies just as much to our own environment and the special circumstances in South Africa.

By definition, one is working with a ‘term’ or ‘fixed period’ of employment and not ‘full time’ or ‘permanent employment’. This provides a great deal of latitude for employers as they can tailor a position to a specific project or task and in a specific geography as required. From the organization’s point of view it is not creating additional overhead or fixed costs, but is expensing the human resources component of a specific project. In this regard it is advisable to get expert advice on the contract itself as both the courts and the SA Revenue Services have very strict parameters to differentiate an ‘interim’ from a ‘full time’ employee.

The procurement component of supply chain management covers an extremely diverse range of functions and there are over 250 competencies to be assessed in the private sector alone. In the public sector you can add another 50 competencies which arise from the policies that apply and need to be managed.

Law goes on to point out that the interim manager can also expect to double his remuneration over the period, compared to the full time salary scales. He ascribes the reason for this to two factors: In most other areas of employment the interim or ‘temp’ market is well accepted whereas in procurement, “the temporary recruitment market barely exists, which has a positive effect on interim value. The other factor is supply and demand. Employers can see the benefits of hiring an interim manager with strong segment experience without the commitment of full time employment, particularly if the role is project-based.”

The individual contractor benefits by selectively building a career path and increased earnings per unit of time. Law discusses the case of an interim manager (UK) who works two days a week for 70% of what the full time permanent role would pay! The caveat for the contractor is that the emolument normally comes without the support of medical aid, pension and a 13th cheque.

The employer benefits by filling specific skills gaps as and when they arise without incurring a fixed commitment and without being bound indefinitely should the person not be suitable for the tasks assigned.

In the South African context the interim contract can also be used to provide chunks of employment to the disabled and retired members of the workforce where a considerable supply of specialist and experienced skills can be found in today’s highly competitive environment.

In the present economic environment in South Africa it is likely that contracting interims and temporary personnel will become extremely useful for procurement departments as they will not be incurring a fixed overhead but merely an operations cost. At a recent industry update session held in Centurion, the leading HR agencies who presented, confirmed that the South African market is geared to fulfill interim positions through-out the National Supply Chains in both the Private & Public Sectors.

The Smart Procurement Jobs Board plays a vital role in listing the positions available in the local Procurement & Supply Management market. As a result it attracts wide-spread interest and is the ideal location for you to advertise any interim positions you need filled. To advertise positions, or for more information, contact:

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