Contract or Permanent role- which one to go for?
I did not set out to be a contractor but when I got made redundant from my first permanent role, times were tough in financial services. There were not many jobs around. I needed money and experience so I decided to take a 6 month contract role when it finally came my way. My friends tried to talk me out of it. They thought once I start contracting I will pigeonhole myself and it will be much harder to get a permanent job which in those days meant security.
It is true, companies looking for permanent staff often think that someone who has been contracting for a long time might not stay in a permanent role and is therefore not worth the financial risk of hiring.
When deciding which route to take, consider the current situation in the job market. The world is changing and with it the recruitment mindset. With the global pandemic affecting the economy and bringing more and more redundancies, it will be unrealistic for companies to expect everyone to have 5 years or more experience in each role. Having a job and learning a skill should be more beneficial to a company than sitting at home and waiting for the perfect job because the employee is worried about ruining their CV. It doesn’t matter if you were in the role for 10 years or 10 months, you have skills to offer so make sure you emphasise them.
If you are a contractor looking for a permanent role, make sure you’re clear about this from the start. Update your personal profile and let your recruiter know so you’re both on the same page. When you get an interview, explain why you want a permanent role and the reasons for your contract roles. Remember contracting taught you important skills e.g. dealing with change, adapting to new processes, environments and learning new systems. Make sure you sell the benefits to the company.
If you have always had permanent roles and are seeking another permanent role, a short term contract to tide you over financially could be an option. However before you go down this route, there are a number of things you might want to consider. Maybe a contract role is worrying for you. You are used to the structure a permanent job offers, you like knowing what is expected from you and what you need to do to get to the next level of your career. You like the stable income and security of a permanent role. Contracting can seem scary and uncertain and you may feel it could affect your CV by making you look indecisive when it comes to your career.
You have to decide what is more important to you. Do you need income and experience a contract can offer or do you want to wait for your perfect permanent role which might take a while.
And remember that times have changed. Having a permanent role does not automatically guarantee job security anymore. It is becoming more common for companies to hire contractors on project basis in this uncertain job market. Therefore employers are looking for well-rounded employees with strong emotional intelligence, agile skill set who can lead and adapt to the uncertain and always changing environments.
Here are few pros and cons you can take into consideration whilst making a decision.
Pros of Contracting
- Better pay
- Variety of work
- Flexibility to work when you want
- Opportunity to diversify your skill set
- No office politics
Cons of Contracting
- Lack of job security
- Risk of being on the job market often
- No holiday or sick pay
- No promotion or benefits
- Dealing with your own taxes
Pros of Permanent Job
- Job security if company is doing well
- Benefits and bonus
- Training and development
- Set career path
- Sick pay and paid holiday
Cons of Permanent Job
- Lower salary
- Performance checks and reviews
- Lack of job variety
- Slow career progression
It looks like both contact and permanent employment choices have their advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully this article gave you a bit of a clarity on what is a better choice for you. If you want more information about job searching please see here.