As a specialist Temp and Contract Consultant for nearly a decade now, I have been asked, “Why would anyone take a contract role over a permanent one?” – from both candidates and clients alike, more times than I care to remember.
Speaking purely from my experience and for the industry I work in (white collar construction) there has always seemed to be a stigma around Temp & Contract staff.
It’s time to ask ourselves why this is. As the title suggests, Temp is just that! Temporary. Most clients I work with see this as nothing but a transient workforce who are not going to hang around, and will just wait for the next job to come up and take it. This has to be the most common misconception I have seen as my time as a Consultant.
Yes, temporary contractors are there on a short-term basis, but rather than being of the opinion that these people are only there to make a quick buck and then run off, it’s time to start thinking of them as your personal ‘Gun For Hire’!
They are short-term specialists for short-term needs. You wouldn’t have a Structures Foreman running the fit-out and finishes of a project, would you? I would hope not. So why wouldn’t you have your Structures Foreman or Site Manager take your project to lock-up stage, then have them start another project while you bring on a specialist Finishes Foreman to complete the rest? It makes sense from a time, quality, and likely a financial perspective.
With the current mood changing in the industry to be far more adoptive of Contract roles, what are the reasons you, as a candidate, should choose a contract role over a permanent position?
Let’s look at the benefits:
Contracting values your time
To directly quote one of my current contractors, “It values my time. I spend so much time onsite why would I not want to get paid for every hour I am there?”
Contract roles pay on an hourly rate basis, so you literally get paid for the hours you put in. If you’ve ever worked in a permanent role, ask yourself how often you worked more than 38 hours a week? If your answer is ‘most weeks, if not every week,’ this is one of the main reasons you should look at a contract role. A standard employment contract for a perm role will generally be based on 38 hours a week. Not only is this limiting your earning potential, it is also bringing down your net worth. If you take your salary and divide it by the actual hours you’re working, you’ll soon realise you’re earning a hell of a lot less than what you signed on for.
Contract = flexibility
Contract roles offer great flexibility. As your contract role will be a temporary assignment, it has the ability to offer you a far superior work/life balance. Jump on a role, smash out the contract, put the hours in, and earn some really good money. When you’re done, you have the ability to take that trip you have always wanted to go on, fix up the house, or do those odd jobs you have been putting off. You can finally have the life you really want!
Contracts can make your CV look better
Multiple contract roles CAN actually make your CV look a lot more well-rounded. Another common misconception I find with my clients is movement on a CV. I often put this back on to them and ask why. You would be surprised the amount of times their answer is, “I actually don’t know.” Multiple roles and multiple projects can, in fact, greatly enhance a contractor’s ability to be thrust into a new environment or situation, and have them hit the ground running. It demonstrates adaptability, willingness to take on new challenges, and oftentimes a broad skill set.
So next time a recruitment consultant or potential employer questions your multiple roles or projects, use these benefits as a bargaining chip to let them know you can be put into any situation and succeed.
You can be your own boss
Contracting is actually working for yourself. By applying for an ABN and contracting through that, you are working for yourself as a Consultant or Specialised Contractor. This has various tax benefits to suit your individual situation, or it simply gives you the freedom to pick and choose who you want to work for and when.
But…what about job security?
The biggest fear candidates have when I speak to them about Contract and Temp roles is the idea of lack of security. But here’s the thing: can you be terminated as a permanent employee? Quite simply, yep! Regardless of whether you are in a permanent or contract role, if you work hard, put in the hours and take it seriously you will always have a job and an income stream. But if you don’t, your job security is compromised no matter your employment status.
Dwayne Kelly is the fearless leader of the Temp & Contract team at Fetch. He’s passionate about finding great roles for hard-working contractors at top Australian construction companies. You can connect with Dwayne on LinkedIn here.