Long gone are the days where contract work was mainly used to fill demands of labour in peak seasons or for highly specialised projects – in today’s gig economy, contract work is popular across many industries. From tech to environmental safety professionals, more and more workers are considering leaving their full-time positions in favour of contract work.
According to the ABS, there are now over 1 million independent contractors in Australia, with the number steadily increasing in past years.
Contract work opportunities are also on the rise, with LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Report finding that while full time job listings only increased by 6% between 2021 and 2022, contract listings increased by 26%.
Though leaving the stability and familiarity of a permanent position can be daunting, there are many benefits moving into contract work may provide – read on for 7 key factors in the choice between permanent work vs contract work, as well as a list of questions to consider for any contract role.
One of the biggest advantages of contract work is the flexibility it offers. As a contractor, you’re often able to choose the projects, clients and hours that best suit your individual needs and goals.
This can be beneficial for several reasons, from an increased ability to balance other commitments with your work to greater opportunities for experimenting with different industries and roles.
Contractors typically work on a variety of projects throughout the year, for different clients and in different environments. In contrast, many permanent employees may end up working on the same or similar projects for years on end.
If you’re someone that enjoys adapting to new settings and solving new problems, contract work can be a great option that is more engaging and motivating.
Contracting means you’ll work with a variety of people, constantly meeting new colleagues with each contract. By increasing your network, you’ll gain a greater exposure to different circles and possibly increase your chances of getting new work.
One survey found that of its respondents, 41% obtained their current job through their network, being referred from someone that knew them, a former co-worker or through other networking means.
Job Security – Opportunity to Go Permanent
One of the most challenging aspects of contract work is the potential lack of job security. Typically, as a contractor, your work is project-based and your employment may end once the project is completed. This can make it challenging to plan finances and future career moves.
However, with the current trend towards more contract positions, networking opportunities available to contractors and the potential for contracts to lead to full-time employment, hopefully some of the risks associated with contract work are mitigated.
Contract work can also offer unique opportunities for professional growth, exposing you to new industries and technologies and allowing you to expand your skillset and professional experience.
As you gain expertise in different areas and become known for your skills in a particular industry or niche, you may even be able to command higher rates and more lucrative contracts.
Questions to Ask About a Contract
When considering a contract, it is important to ask the right questions to ensure that the opportunity aligns with your goals and needs. In addition to considering the above factors, there are several specific questions that can help you make an informed decision, such as:
What is the expected duration of the contract?
What are the standard working hours? Will overtime be expected?
What are the expectations for performance and deliverables for the role?
Can you provide details on the rate for the contract role? (Be prepared to set your rate yourself, if needed)
What, if any, are the benefits available?
What is the location of the work, and is travel required?
Can you provide more information about the team and the reporting structure for this role?
What is the process for transitioning out of the contract when it ends?
Is this potentially a temp-to-perm opportunity?
Consider Contracting Today
Contract work offers many benefits to Australian professionals who are considering leaving a permanent position. From greater flexibility and variety to financial benefits and opportunities for growth, there are many reasons to consider contract work for your career. While it's important to consider the potential downsides, such as a perceived lack of job security, contract work can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice.
As specialist recruiters in Newcastle and Hunter Region, we are connected to a range of organisations offering contract roles across different industries and range of specialties such as Accounting & Finance, Human Resources, Marketing & Digital, Engineering and Legal. If you’re thinking of making the switch to contract work and would like advice or assistance securing a contract, please don’t hesitate to reach out and book in a complimentary Career Discussion.