Whilst the autonomous, flexible way of life offered by a career as a contract worker is intriguing for many, some are put off by the thought of uncertainty, frequent change and doing their own taxes. However, contracting is not only a positive employment option but a unique lifestyle with an abundance of benefits that very much outweigh the drawbacks.
Generate’s payroll and contractor management specialists have helped thousands of professionals through their career transitions. Here our experts reveal the four benefits of temporary employment.
4 of the Best Reasons to Transition to Contract Employment
Self-employment options place a worker at the heart of decisions affecting their professional and personal life. Depending on your contract, you can enjoy maximum freedom to decide the following, all on your own terms:
- Which days you want to work, and in which frequency
- Your working hours – Fixed, flexible, days, nights or whenever suits your personal schedule
- Holidays – As self-employed workers are usually not allocated the same annual leave that permanent staff members accrue, paid holiday is not included in many short- and medium-term assignments. This means no longer being restricted to the standard 20 days’ holiday offered by law, and instead taking vacations in between contracts and enjoying breaks whenever your commitments and finances allow.
The contract itself is also dependent on your agreement to the end client’s terms. Rather than receiving arbitrary targets or being assessed against the same standards as other colleagues, temporary workers can negotiate with their employer to create bespoke timescales, deliverables and measurements. Contracting provides the best opportunity to get exactly what you want out of your career, every day.
2. Variety of Work
Being brought in with the specific purpose of delivering a project, programme or new business venture means the ability to truly own an initiative, moulding an idea from start to finish, and seeing the impacts and benefits of your efforts. Although average assignment length depends on industry and location, most last between a few weeks and six months, meaning that in a typical year alone, contractors can gain a wealth of diverse experiences and harness new skills across projects, companies and industries.
Self-employed people also report finding greater purpose in their work: 94% of contractors believe their job is making a worthwhile contribution to the world, in comparison to 76% of the permanent workforce. 63% of freelancers and solopreneurs actively look forward to coming in to work every day, compared with under half of their permanent counterparts.
3. Professional Development
The wealth and variety of experiences afforded by temporary employment will add valuable new abilities to your toolkit. From expertise in specific software and coding languages to softer skills such as working with vulnerable children in local communities or delivering lesson planning for different ages and subjects, every assignment will equip you with something new. The vast array of experience picked up from temporary work can never be matched by permanent counterparts, providing contractors with an edge in professional brand and career advancement.
Whereas permanent employees can spend years and even decades encountering the same type of challenges, using the same tools and held to the same business objectives, contractors are automatically in tune with the latest market needs. Frequent short-term assignments provide multiple experiences of new niche technology, ideas and ways of thinking, ideally positioning contractors as best suited to deliver whatever the industry needs as soon as it needs it. When businesses are recruiting for teams to implement the latest automation technology or respond to curriculum changes in a new subject, skilled contract specialists present the most efficient and effective option.
The professional development opportunities afforded by contracting networks are unparalleled. Temporary specialists will build a trusted contact base of many hundreds of professionals in their industry, many of whom can act either as vital mentors throughout their career and/or be the first to get in touch with new job opportunities.
4. Quality of Life
McKinsey recently found that an astonishing 97% of freelancers, sole traders, interim managers and self-employed individuals alike reported that they were much happier than their permanent counterparts. Numerous studies conducted by the Freelancers Union and Upwork have reinforced these findings, citing the reasons behind contractor happiness as freedom, choice, finances and flexibility.
Effectively acting as your own boss means autonomy over not only your work but also your personal life, wellbeing and mental health. Short-term assignments offer the motivation to see through an unpleasant working experience or office environment for a few weeks or months. Short assignments and flexible working terms empower individuals to prioritise their mental health and cut a job short rather than suffer through unbearable conditions or managers. A solo worker acting with objectivity negates the requirement and pressure of office politics, allowing individuals to focus on job performance and purpose rather than getting drawn in to toxic cultures or endless projects.
Flexibility means plenty of opportunities to travel the world, experiencing different ways of working, cultures and colleagues to befriend. The life of a contractor means no fixed career path, but rather one that you can create, control and adapt based on new experiences, lifestyle changes and economic events. Temporary specialists are truly masters of their own destiny, with the ability to craft the life and career they really want.
Despite the upcoming hurdles presented by Covid-19, Brexit, regulation and economic recovery, the self-employed are highly optimistic about future life and career satisfaction. Seven in 10 freelancers, interim managers and sole traders plan to continue with temporary employment options in the next three years. 62% of the temporary workforce would proactively recommend the personal and professional life of a temporary worker to friends and colleagues.
Kickstart Your Contracting Career
Wondering how to start your career change? Find out how Generate can help with your payroll, compliance, tax and all other questions.