Should You Become A Contractor?

Mark Freire

16th May 2017

The contractor market is growing like never before. With the skills shortage squeezing the IT & digital sector, many workers are ditching permanent employment and contracting on a project-by-project basis. Switching job security for self-management and a higher hourly rate.

But is contracting your services the right move for you? While there are big advantages, there are also disadvantages to consider.

Here is everything you need to know about tearing up that permanent contract and going it alone.

The Benefits Of Becoming A Contractor.

Be Your Own Boss.  Although you will still have an employer, they won’t technically be your boss. This shift in power is a key benefit for those who struggle with direct management and want to control their own workflow and methodology.

Freedom. Some employees feel ‘stuck’ in their current role. Going contract gives you more freedom to  choose your roles and place for work – always knowing you can walk away as soon as the contract ends.

Regular Breaks. The time between contracts gives you the perfect opportunity to take an extended break and recharge. Want to travel the world? Taking 2 months away from work without harming your career could become a reality.

Variety. Changing roles and employers more regularly can quickly develop your skills and build an impressive array of experience

Higher Pay. Hour-for-hour there is no doubt that contractors earn more than their permanent counterparts. If the size of your pay packet is important to you, then contracting could be the way to go.

Want to know how much you are worth as a contractor? – contact us.

The Disadvantages Of Contracting

While it looks initially like switching to contract is a no-brainer, there are a whole host of disadvantages to consider.

Less Protection. Contractors miss out on the statutory protections and benefits given to permanent employees. Break your wrist in an accident and you will be glad you stayed in employment. Especially if your company benefits include private medical insurance.

Greater Uncertainty. Although there is a prosperous contracting market, that is no guarantee you’ll find a new contract as soon as your current one ends. Many contractors imagine taking relaxing breaks between contracts, but are often too busy stressing about finding new employment.

More Paperwork. Being employed is easy. Sign the contract, turn up for work and your employer takes care of the rest. Contractors will need to administrate their own insurance, tax, pensions and timesheet submissions.

Loneliness. Contractors can miss the support and fun of working in an established team. Just as you are getting to know everyone, your contract expires and it’s time to start again. Contractors can also face some animosity when parachuted into an existing project with new ideas and a high hourly rate.

Difficult To Go Back. Things change and some contractors choose to go back to permanent employment. Yet that switch is not easy. Employers may be reluctant to invest in you if they fear you will switch back to contract as soon as it suits you.

Support & Training. Structured training and personal development is now standard for most IT employees. Contractors on-the-other-hand will need to build their own skills and career plans. For some, contracting can stall your career rather than push it forward.

Missed Management Opportunities. IT contractors often manage their own projects, but less often manage their own teams. If you want to become part of something bigger then contracting may prevent you from making it to a senior position where you really do get to call the shots.

Still not sure if contracting is for you?

Talk to us. We place hundreds of permanent and contract IT professionals across London each year and can advise on everything from likely hourly rates, to current opportunities and career progression.