Why Change Career From Permanent to Contract Work?
The number of professionals moving from permanent employment into contracting is on the rise; this trend can be tracked across the Property & Construction industry from Technical Managers to Human Resources and Finance professionals. In fact, we have recorded a 23% increase in the number of contract placements within the last year. Higher pay, greater variety and improved flexibility are noticeable motivators for this career transition, so we decided to explore this trend further and unpick these benefits.
If you’re considering a career change from permanent to contract, we have created a go-to thought piece to inform your decision-making process.
What Is ‘Contracted Work’?
Contract work differentiates itself from full-time employment as it applies to a short-term contract (as in its name ‘contract work’). Contract work itself is different from freelance work because you, an individual, would agree to work for a specific period with contract work, whereas in freelance there is greater flexibility to ‘work as you wish’. The ‘Contract Work’ branch of employment is due to reach its zenith in 2019, but why has the past few years provided the perfect business climate for a ‘gig-economy’ to form?
A ‘gig-economy’ is “a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs.” Even outside of the Property & Construction market, employers are recognising that contract workers within the right roles in business and given the right support from recruitment partners, can enable the business to reach new heights. Alongside clear benefits to the employer, what is motivating an employee to make the change to contract?
The Rewards & Risks of Contracted Work
Financial benefits are just the starting point for why professionals choose to make this change; it has been reported that quantity surveyors (a profession whose numbers dipped in 2016) could earn up to 40% more as ‘freelancers’. Even though weekly rates were noticeably high in 2018, this is set to increase even further in 2019, even in the shadow of Brexit. As long as consumer credit continues its steady flow throughout this relatively uncertain climate, the save on tax be will continue to be substantial.
Choosing a short-term contract, however, can also result in a lack of a company package, such as set holiday days, sick pay, parental leave, healthcare, or any other benefits that an employer may offer to its full-time staff. As a contract worker, you must be able to develop a backup plan for when you are unavailable to service your clients or meet deadlines. Equally as important, in making this change, you must also be prepared to accept these potential downsides in order to experience the financial benefits. Although the save on tax is significant, this could be set to change over the next few years in response to recent research from the Office for Budget Responsibility; it estimated that in 2020-21, the individual’s save on tax could cost the Treasury £3.5bn, meaning that a UK government could put in limitations on professionals benefitting from this tax save too greatly.
Work variety is another pull towards contract employment for workers within the Property & Construction industry. This goes beyond variety in day-to-day tasks, although 61% of workers say they’re inclined to ask their Managers for more engaging work. Variety could include working in different locations as well as choosing projects based on their prestige, level of expertise or just general appeal to them as an individual. However, the other side of the coin to variety is lack of security. The excitement and freshness of a varied day and workload can also mean a lack of visibility to where work is coming from and when, which could leave you in a difficult scenario if the future isn’t constantly planned for.
The final distinctive incentive for contract work is flexibility. A contract worker, able to choose when and how long they work, is able to take time off when it matters to them most, for example when their children are on school holidays and in need of childcare (although it has been noted that a lack of set working hours can actually undermine someone’s ability to enjoy a steady work-life balance). Whilst parental pay isn’t usually accounted for in a short-term contract, a contract worker would have the flexibility to return to work when it best suits them, without any pressure being applied by their employer. This job autonomy can have a huge impact on a professional’s work-life balance as contract workers can choose where they work (waving goodbye to longer or uncomfortable commutes if they wish) and who they work for (if a company doesn’t quite line up with working values, they can choose not to work for them again.).
In order to succeed, contract workers need the ability to look ahead and ask whether the work will provide a long-term opportunity and whether it is going to work during downturns. What is also proven to assist a contract worker in achieving stability in this way of working, is a reliable and transparent recruitment partner.
Our Top 5 Pieces of Advice For Becoming A Contract Worker
- Establish your unique selling points and the skills that clients would need pressingly. For example, what skills are currently short in the marketplace?
- Identify clients to approach with these skills; with our network of leading Main Contractors and Developers across the UK and abroad, Blayze Group are able to assist you in this.
- If you would rather not dive straight into contracting, you could test the waters by keeping your permanent employment and taking up contract opportunities on the side of this.
- Gain financial clarity; have a clear picture of your outgoings and what you would need income-wise to meet these. Blayze Group is able to give you an accurate perception of what a day rate you can look for, as we constantly keep in touch with the industry’s movements.
- Develop your skills where you can with supplementary learning and courses – you could consider asking for more responsibility at work or taking on different tasks. Continue to add these developments to your portfolio and constantly seek to improve it and add to it
Are you inspired to consider a move for contract? We are experts at supporting your transition into a way of working that’s new to you, from keeping in touch to present the latest opportunities, to overseeing your time sheets and invoices, to keeping you updated in IR35. With our extensive client and candidate database, we offer quick but quality solutions to achieving contract success. Combining a solid representation in the market with our consultants’ quality knowledge, we are the pre-eminent partner within contract recruitment.
Get in touch today with Naomi, Duncan or Dan. You can also browse our latest temporary job opportunities here.
Naomi Slakmon | Business Manager | Business Support |firstname.lastname@example.org | 0207 337 7512
Duncan Morgan | Associate Director | Residential Development |email@example.com | 0207 337 7545
Dan May | Principal Consultant | IT & Finance | Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org | 07841 336 808