During your job search on Glassdoor or LinkedIn, you are probably scrolling past terms like temp, casual, and contract. That said, these can be extremely worthwhile positions you’re overlooking, especially if you’ve been displaced during the pandemic or are looking to jump start your career post-graduation. With nearly 70% of Canadian employers expecting to hire additional contract or temporary workers in the next 2 years, it will become increasingly more common for professionals to work for numerous companies during their careers. By keeping an open mind to contract or temporary work, you are increasing the chance of quickly landing lucrative job opportunities, as well as other benefits that full-time permanent jobs don’t offer.
Throughout this article, we’ll explore the advantages of being a contract or temporary employee, while also discussing potential risks to look out for.
The current job market has been reluctant to hire recent graduates without working experience, which is why over 50% of the Gen Z workforce have freelanced their work in the last year to foster their own experiences. By taking on a temporary assignment, you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and work experience in a short amount of time, as well as open up new possibilities for your professional career that can be used across different industries.This broad experience can strengthen your resume and ultimately help you establish concrete professional connections. In addition, improving capabilities at work allows one to be more creative and increase adaptability to new jobs. The ability to slip seamlessly into any temporary or permanent job is a testament to your adaptability, which is an attractive characteristic for any employer when hiring.
As a contract or freelance employee, you are your own boss. As such, if a company wants to work with you, they are your client not your employer. This means that you have the freedom to choose when and how much time you work, as well as there is more opportunity to negotiate additional incentives like the ability to work from home. Opportunities like this also allow for greater flexibility between professional and personal life with the added control over schedules.
Furthermore, the flexibility of a temporary job allows you to gain experience in various work environments. Working in the same position all the time can become monotonous, while temporary employment can keep you from getting bored. Additionally, if you are given a chance to sample a variety of job options, you will get a better idea of what you like, what you dislike, and where you will thrive.
Freelancers typically earn 70% more per hour than the average full-time employee in their industry. While a full-time employee is brought in for their current experience and ability to grow over time, a contract employee is usually for an immediate need with the expectation of hitting the ground running for a finite amount of time. Although, it’s important to note that a freelancer has to compensate for other variables into their hourly rate, such as vacation time and benefits, unless the employer builds these into their contract.
Another fiscal advantage of contact or temporary work are the write-offs. Sole proprietors and corporations are permitted to write-off their business expenses so as not to pay another layer of tax on those purchases. If you work from a home office, use your mobile phone for business, or have to drive to meet with clients, you can deduct a portion of these costs from your total income at tax time. However, it’s a good idea to consult a tax professional so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the Canada Revenue Agency.
Professional Network Building
Temporary work provides an ideal opportunity to network, get good references, and make new friends. As you complete each contract successfully, you have ample opportunities to make lasting connections. The importance of networking lies in the fact that most jobs never go on the market, meaning that you may not be notified when a position becomes available. By having strong professional connections, it increases your chance of receiving job opportunities through recommendations. Furthermore, an experienced network can be an excellent resource for gaining best practice knowledge and techniques to help you succeed in your job, all of which can enhance your employability and improve your chances of landing your dream role.
Taking a contract or temporary job is one way to get your foot in the door of a company you’d like to work for. It also can be a way for both employers and employees to get to know each other without having to get into a more profound commitment too quickly. By offering a contract with the potential for full-time employment, a company has time to determine if a person is going to grow in the same direction as their business. Likewise, the contracted employee has the chance to decide if the company is a good fit for where they want to go in their career. Of course, the situation is a little more precarious for both parties, as either can decide to end the relationship at any point. However, if the contracted employee makes a significant impact during the tenure of their contract, they will be in a strong salary-negotiating position when the time comes.
As with any profession, temporary or contract work has its share of risks that should be taken into consideration. Taking the plunge means thinking about how much you’re giving up in exchange for the benefits you’ll receive. A few of the disadvantages may be:
With a salaried position, you have the guarantee of a regular paycheck with a permanent job. Contract or temporary work is dependent on getting that next gig to ensure another cash infusion. That said, as you develop as a freelancer, you can be more confident in your relationships and have a good idea of what you can expect in terms of yearly income. However, it will never be as guaranteed.
Companies are mandated to pay their employees for statutory holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Good Friday, Canada Day, and Labour Day. As a freelancer, you get paid by the contract, so the company is not required to pay you extra if you happen to work on these days, nor are they required to pay you to have the day off.
Additionally, sick days are not always paid as a contractor. While you may be able to negotiate some allowance for longer-term contracts, it’s not a given. When determining your fees, you will want to consider that you are essentially giving up this benefit.
In Canada, our healthcare program means we don’t have to rely on an employer to have proper health insurance. However, many Canadians do rely on their employers to cover their dental and prescription insurance fees. Individual insurance options have always been available, but as a single freelancer, you don’t have the same bulk-purchasing power as a company. If you’re considering a freelance career, you want to be sure to investigate these costs. Often you may be able to find better packages through a professional association than going it alone.
Professional Development Investment
Another big perk of being on-staff is that companies often find it advantageous to invest in the long-term development of their employees. As such, there is often a budget line for employee development to cover skills upgrades or conference passes. As a contract or temporary worker, your client companies are unlikely to pay for these sorts of perks. If you need to be at a conference or have to upgrade your qualifications, it falls to you to budget.
Despite the challenges, more people are being drawn to the flexibility and potential they see in contract and temporary work. While for some it’s a chance to get a better sense of a company before they commit to a full-time position, for others it’s a lucrative venture of their own. Regardless of why you’re considering freelance options, we’re here to help. To learn more about the contract or temporary positions we have available, search our current job opportunities here.