Consider the following U.S. employment statistics regarding contract employment:
- Approximately 40% of the employed workforce consists of contingent workers – an off shoot of “non-traditional” employment, including: freelancers, independent professionals, temporary contract workers, and independent contractors. (Jobenomics Blog “U.S.-Employment Analysis Q2-2016”)
- Of those contingent workers, the staffing industry alone employs a weekly average of over 3 million temporary and contract professionals in a variety of US companies. (American Staffing Association)
- Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) forecasts predict that the staffing industry will enjoy continued growth in 2017.
While these statistics are impressive, the thought of transitioning to a contract job from a tradition employment position can be unsettling for many people.
So…What is the appeal?
For those willing embrace a bit of ambiguity, the benefits of taking a contract role can be great for both career and work-life balance. Here are our top 3:
One of the big perks of switching to contract employment is the ability to decide when and where you want to work. You have the option of accepting positions that fit your schedule in places where you actually want to work. Have you dreamed of taking a long vacation in the summer, but never could with a traditional situation? Selecting the right contract positions can make this a reality. For example, it is entirely possible for you to work a six month position in Florida and then take a month or two off before accepting a position in Colorado or California. It is common for our recruiters to speak with professionals that routinely take months off in between assignments to travel and spend time with family. With contract work, you have increased flexibility with your work schedule that many professionals simply do not have.
Potential to Increase Your Earnings.
Depending on the position and the client, contract workers often earn more money working in a contract assignment. In our experience, individuals with desired skill sets have the potential to earn significantly more on contract assignments as they would doing the same job in traditional permanent employment. At one time, this may have been compensation for a lack of benefits. However, more and more staffing firms are now offering benefits to contract employees that are comparable to benefits offered by employers of similar size. At Procedure Solutions Management, we offer comprehensive health, vision, dental, life insurance and 401k plans to contract and corporate employees alike. Thanks to benefit offerings and potential to earnings increases, contract assignments are a viable option for many professionals.
Expand Your Professional Network and Company Portfolio.
Contract employment provides more opportunities to work with other industry professionals and grow your professional network. A survey conducted by LinkedIn.com in February 2016, found that approximately 85% of today’s jobs are landed due to networking. The increased level of exposure achieved through contract positions can lead to increased contacts and referrals that serve to further career aspirations. Referrals are integral to the success of both staffing firms and candidates. Our recruiters have seen first hand how having the right referrals and contacts can help land a “dream job” for their candidates.
Bonus (one more for those entering the workforce):
Explore Your Options.
In college, there is something to be said for taking a variety of courses before deciding on your major. This can give you a better understanding of your interests. It could even prevent you from switching majors halfway through your third year. Why not explore your job options, in the same fashion, before choosing where you want to settle down. Contract work can provide you with an opportunity to “try out” a variety of companies and see which ones are a match for your job interests and work preferences. It may also give you a chance to work on a more diverse array of projects with different teams under varying management styles.
A certain degree of apprehension is understandable, but pursuing contract employment can be very beneficial. Like any career decision, it’s about understanding your options, assessing the risks, weighing the benefits, and ultimately deciding to do what works best for you!
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