Why you might love being a contractor

There are more opportunities for independent contractors than ever before. Here’s why it might be a perfect fit for you.

One of the ways that many Canadian organizations have coped with the uncertain economy in the past few years is by increasing their reliance on contract workers: People who aren’t regular full-time employees, but who work on an hourly (or sometimes weekly) basis.

When you’re looking for a job, you may be reluctant to consider contract work because it seems less stable or secure than regular full-time employment. But there are lots of ways in which contract jobs can be a great way to work – and offer some distinct advantages over ‘regular’ jobs.

(Please note:  None of the following should be considered legal or tax advice – before you make any decisions you need to know the legalities governing working as an independent contractor in your area.)

1. Contract jobs often pay better

According to the Wall Street Journal, contract positions can pay up to 40% more than ‘regular’ jobs.  (Companies can afford to do this because contract positions are cheaper for them than full-time employee positions.)

1. (b) You’ll get paid for overtime!

Contract employees are typically paid by the hour, so when you’re asked to work all weekend on a special project, you can submit a bill for this time.

2. You’re your own boss

One of the criteria of contract roles is that you, not the employer, controls where, when and how you work.  So you’re likely to have more freedom to telecommute or work flexible hours than a normal job.

3. It can lead to long-term employment

The vast majority of contractors we work with say that taking a contract opportunity almost always turns into an extended engagement or a full-time job offer.  So taking a 3-month gig may seem risky, but if you’re a strong performer, it’s likely to be more stable than you think.

4. You’re not stuck in a pre-defined box

In a big company, if you’re hired for a full-time role, chances are that there’s all kinds of bureaucracy required to take on a new role or a promotion.  Contract positions tend to offer much more flexibility and opportunities for growth, because you can become the indispensible resource that everyone else turns to.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial turn of mind, this can be a terrific way to grow your skills.

5. You can earn extra money elsewhere

In fact, for tax reasons, you probably should take on other paying projects, so that the government doesn’t start thinking you’re an employee masquerading as a contractor.  For IT consultants, technical writers, designers or other professionals, this ability to moonlight without creating a conflict of interest or disgruntlement on the part of your employer can be a big advantage.

6. It will expand your network

Spending a year or two working on a handful of contract gigs is a fantastic way to expand your network and demonstrate your abilities to a whole lot of people.  This can turn into a full-time job offer – or, even better, it can give you the foundation you need to become an independent consultant indefinitely.

Are you ready to look for that next IT position? Connect with us to see if you are a match for anything we have open now, or in the future.

For more information on navigating your next IT career move, check out our Guide to Finding the Perfect Tech Job.