So you’re looking for your dream job in finance and you might have found it. There is one snag though, it’s a contract and not a permanent position. You were hoping for the stability that would come with a permanent role and you don’t want to be in the same position in six months again looking for another job once your contract has come to an end. This is exactly why you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of financial contract work. Contractual work can be just as rewarding, if not more rewarding than permanent work.
Contract work or contracting refers to project-based or time-sensitive jobs that are carried out by professionals for a fixed period of time. A contract offers professionals the ability to work under conditions similar to a freelancer, depending on the needs of the business. In many cases, contract workers are brought in because they have the specialist skills needed for a project, to cover seasonal periods and maternity leave, or to fill skill gaps or transfer knowledge to a team. In some cases, professionals opt for financial contract work rather than permanent employment for more flexibility.
Advantages of contract work
Better Salary – Contractors are constantly moving to new companies so they have more opportunities to improve their skillsets. This can help them improve their pay scale much more quickly than someone following a permanent career path.
Job Variety – Meeting and working with new people, experiencing new office cultures, and working on a number of different challenges. If you’re the type of person that becomes uninspired after 6 months in a job then contracting could be perfect for you.
Building A Network – Working as a contractor will lead to you building a solid network of connections across a variety of different disciplines. This network can be invaluable if you’re looking for recommendations or work at short notice and can enable you to bring even more value to any contract positions you’re working.
Being Your Own Boss – You get to make the decision whether or not you take on a contract position, so if a role isn’t exciting enough for you then you can wait for something else to come along and you’re also only employed for as long as the contract is running.
Disadvantages of contract work
Job Security – Job security is one of the biggest drawbacks to financial contract work and is enough to put a lot of people off contract work altogether. Whether it’s a project being cancelled, a shift in demand for your skills, or an economic downturn, your job is never guaranteed.
Bonuses And Benefits – Contractors aren’t eligible for bonus schemes or employee perks and benefits. Paying into a pension will be your own responsibility.
Applying For Jobs – When your contract comes to an end, you will have to begin the application process all over again. This can be incredibly time consuming, and any time that you’re not working means you’re not earning money. This is where keeping your skills and CV up to date can really make a difference.
Skills And Training – You may receive some training as part of a contract position, but if you need to gain any industry qualifications or develop professional skills then you’ll have to pay for this yourself. Not paying for training courses and personal development could cost you more in the long run if it’s something employers are looking for.
So before you say no to contact work think of how you can use the position to your advantage:
- There is more flexibility
- You can network while you work
- There is more money for overtime
- It can lead to a full-time position
- It gives you negotiating power
Things to take note of before leaving a contract role for a permanent role:
- Make sure you check your contract details before you begin to plan your next exit
- Renegotiate the contract if possible
- Extension of contract
- Internal moves within the organisation
- Speak to the relevant person regarding your next move – your direct manager
- Practice good ethics
- Protect your reputation to safeguard your credibility
Finding a full-time position can be a long and exhausting process, but a contract position is a great way to relieve the pressure of that search. Contracting is incredibly underrated given the extent to which professionals can use it to their advantage.
Written by Thando Thwala – Specialist Temp & Contract Financial Recruitment Consultant