Generally, when people hear the word “contractor” they think “temporary, risky, and short term.” They think of contract work as less stable and more volatile. This old stigma is just not true in today’s job market. Contract work often provides opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to find in traditional direct hire jobs.
A contract role by definition generally means “An employee that does work for a company and is employed by a staffing agency. The employee works at a client’s business, but a third party is the employer of record.” Basically, an organization will call in the help of a staffing agency to fill positions on their team that they otherwise could not fill themselves. There are a few different reasons why a company would do this.
- Hiring contractors provides staffing flexibility. A lot of the time contractors provide extra hands on long term projects (12-18 months), and they can get on-boarded quickly.
- Speed to hire. Companies can get top tier talent on to projects much faster through contract staffing.
- Contractors can provide missing expertise. Experts can come in and add to the staff quickly with a skill set that falls outside regular employees’ scope.
- Less immediate overhead as a company tries to scale up their team. There are a lot of expenses that come a long with on-boarding a new employee direct. Certain companies can spread out this cost and scale faster by hiring contract and contract-to-hire for certain employees.
This all comes into play much more dramatically in times of economic instability (like a recession, a pandemic, or both). A lot of stable companies had to make deep cuts. A lot of growing companies are not sure how fast they’ll continue to grow. BUT many are expecting to bounce back just as quickly as things went down. And the first catalyst of that growth is generally a spike in contract hiring.
Companies may have cut TOO deep and need to fill basic resources immediately to keep up with demand. Many will be wanting to scale quickly ahead of high demand and cash flow, with contract to hire being a great way to do so. Basically, it’s a good time to become comfortable with the fact that many new job openings will be on contract and contract to hire basis. Here are a few facts that can make that easier:
- Yes, contracts jobs are stable. Just as stable as a direct hire role. In Florida, we’re what we call a Right to Work State, meaning any private employer can hire/fire for any reason at any time. No matter if you’re a contract or a full-time employee, doesn’t matter. Also, this means that you can leave at your own discretion too.
- Yes, you can still get benefits. Depending on the staffing firm you are employed under, many extend benefits packages to all their contract employees too.
- Many times, you can actually make higher wages (depending on your skill set) by working as a contract employee.
- No, being a contractor at a company for a while is not going to look bad on your resume. You’re still doing the same quality work and getting the same valuable experience that you would somewhere full-time.
So basically, contract employment is not as scary as it sounds. It’s going to be the reality for a while and many new opportunities are going to be presented this way. Understanding it up front is the best way to set yourself up for success when they come. And funny enough, spikes in contract employment are one of the number one indicator of a growing economy and stable job growth. Temporary employment is broadly viewed by economists and policymakers as a leading indicator of permanent job creation — a sign that companies are trying out new workers and positions in anticipation of increased demand.