Niche Contractor Skills – lack of them fatal to Contractors

Niche Contractor Skills
Niche Contractor Skills

Niche Contractor Skills Fatal


According to recruiters a lack of niche contractor skills will hit the job prospects of contractors badly.

Many contractors are leaving niche skills off their CVs and just displaying the major skills. They see these as the most important.

They are, but lots of contractors have those. The niche skills could be the ‘tie-breaker’ between contractors who have the right main skills. It may be a minor niche contractor skill that causes an agency to put forward one contractor rather than another.

Of course, as we all know, often agencies don’t know the difference in importance of certain skills. They have a tick list of the skills wanted by clients. They simply put forward those with the most of the skills wanted.

So, it is important to put niche skills on your CV even if they are minor.

Placing Contractors

An Employment services provider asked 40 recruiters about their policy to contractors near the end of their contracts.

You’ll be surprised to hear that 97% of them regular track contractors coming up to the end of their contracts. Indeed 69% of them say they start looking for work for contractors, proactively, when a contractor’s assignment is coming close to completion.

Perhaps they just don’t tell you they are looking.

Lack of Relevant Niche Contractor Skills

The main reason recruiters give for not looking for work for contractors is a lack of relevant skills.

Said a recruiter “If the contractor has generic skills that we are not looking for, we would not pro-actively ‘sell’ that kind of person.”

Said another: “If we are simply too busy filling current vacancies in areas where the contractor does not have relevant skills, we will not spend time on finding them work.”

Yet another said: “If there is no demand for their skill set I won’t pro-actively find them (the contractor) another assignment.”

Timely Reminder

A sales director at a major umbrella company said that these findings were a reminder to contractors as to how important it is to hone their skills.

He described the findings as a “timely reminder” for contractors and freelancers of the importance of honing and enhancing their skills.

He said: “We predicted that this would be the year of the niche contractor. The era of the generalist is over. So, these results seem to confirm that trend.

“Plenty has been said and written about the UK’s skills shortage in recent months. We are firm believers that contractors can help plug the gap.

The Talent Crisis

“The talent crisis only represents an opportunity, however, for those contractors who possess the expertise and niche skills that recruiters and their clients are crying out for.

“As economic conditions improve and demand picks up, contractors who invest in their own professional development are in a fantastic position. So, they must continually enhance their skill set.

“In contrast, those who have failed to carve a niche for themselves may find opportunities drying up.”

Opportunities Drying Up

Other reasons given for not looking for fresh work for contractors were “poor performance” on contract and bad client feedback.

According to the survey of recruiters, agencies place around a quarter of contractors on second and third assignments after their first contract ends.

Contractors will be surpised by that.

75% of recruiters described their desk as client led and 24% said it was candidate led.



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