Hudson RPO employee AJ Pasricha leads early talent and diversity and inclusion recruitment for a large pharmaceutical client in Canada.
Having been on both sides of the Millennial job hunt, Pasricha offers insights into the mindset of gig workers looking for permanent roles.
Read on to get a better understanding of what it’s like to transition from contract to permanent, and how the process can be smoothed by empathy and pragmatism.
A well-run Early Talent program attracts high quality candidates, future leaders, and a more diverse talent pool. Since 2009, Hudson RPO has recruited for GSK Canada’s award-winning Early Talent program.
This is the kind of program that is designed to support new workers entering the workforce, as well as workers who have limited professional experience but great educational backgrounds and high potential.
Without the support of such programs, Millennial candidates often struggle to secure permanent work.
As recruiter Pasricha can relate, the challenge often affects candidates whose backgrounds consist largely of contract gigs.
Nearly 60 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are part of the gig economy, according to a February 2019 Bank of Canada report.
“Often we have no choice but to jump from contract to contract. The permanent roles just aren’t there,” shared Pasricha. “Also keep in mind, not all contracts will be extended, so a lack of contract extension should not reflect poorly on the person’s abilities.”
Discover more of Pasricha’s insights into the journey from contract to permanent employment.
Once, during an interview for a three-month contract, the interviewer wondered out loud why she should consider hiring Pasricha when his last three-month contract didn’t extend.
“I thought, you are interviewing me for a three-month role and wondering if something is wrong with me because my last three-month contract didn’t extend?” Pasricha marveled.
‘Budget’ is often cited when an employer doesn’t want to extend a contract, according to Pasricha. He also had a promising assignment that didn’t extend because the company was acquired by another.
“As a Millennial job seeker, you really start to question your abilities when you fail to get a permanent position. You start to believe something is wrong with you.”
It’s also a challenge for contract employees to demonstrate how they’ve added value in a short three- or six-month period.
“Expect gig workers to rely on achievements made while in school, because most of the short-term opportunities are for administrator or coordinator-level work. Companies aren’t likely to give a key project to someone who will only be there a short time,” Pasricha added.
With bills to pay, an employee on a three-month contract will need to search for another role around the second month of an assignment. Pasricha believes that the stress and uncertainty can make a contract employee less engaged as the contract nears its end.
As a recruiter for GSK Canada’s Early Talent program, Pasricha uses empathy to improve the candidate experience. He liaises with hiring managers to discover opportunities for candidates and employers to meet their goals for development and growth.
“When I hire for graduate programs, the first question I’m asked is whether there is an opportunity for extension,” Pasricha explained.
“If a company wants to offer a six-month contract to ensure the employee is the right fit, that makes sense, but be transparent on the requirements for becoming permanent. What are the goals, KPIs, or other targets the employee needs to achieve?”
Pasricha admits that his contracts provided more exposure to industries and role-types and ultimately helped him figure out what he likes best. He likens his gig economy experience to a self-imposed rotational program.
“It’s something we Millennials have had to get used to. It’s just not the same experience my parents had to deal with.”