Advantages and Disadvantages of Contract Work

Advantages and Disadvantages of Contract Work

Either because you can not seem to find a full-time job or because you are looking for short-time employment, contract work is an option that offers advantages but also has some characteristics that you may want to consider upon accepting a job. Contract jobs usually last for a period from 1 month to a year, or even more, depending on the company.
One of the main advantages of working with contract is money.

Contractors normally get paid for hours of work with no benefits or holiday pay, but on most jobs you can make more money than if you were doing the same job working fulltime. Therefore, working on contract can be quite profitable. Contract staff gets paid overtime unlike most salaried staff.

Contract work has also more flexibility than other types of jobs; candidates can decide the time, the place, and how they want to work while companies get the abilities they need to keep completely staffed during demanding times. Work by contract allows you to change your jobs regularly, particularly if you are working with short-term contracts.

You can hardly get bored if you work for different companies and in different projects.

On the other hand, working with contract can lead you to a difficult time getting a fulltime job afterward. Employers tend to think that you would not work with them for a lower salary than in contract work. You might encounter times of unemployment after each project; you could be on the search for a new job constantly. Whatever the case is, consider these implications when accepting a contract work, but also take into account the benefits it brings.

Good post Graham. It summarises the advantages and disadvantages nicely.

I agree that contract work can be very fulfulling, but also can have its downside! This is my experience of contracting.

I have been a self-employed validation consultant for over three years, and have been in validation for over eight years. I became self-employed when the validation consultancy I worked for closed three years ago. I have been in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years.

The good part for me (apart from the money!) is that you get to work for different companies and thus you can gain a lot of experience on a wide range of projects. For instance I have worked on the validation of a new API facility, purified water systems, autoclaves and biotechnology equipment. The other advantage as I see it is that as a contractor you are much less likely to get involved in the client’s company politics. Generally I have found that the contract comes to an end just as the client tries to get you involved in the politics.

The disadvantage (for me anyhow) is that unless you can get a contract close to home, you have to get used to living out of a suitcase and trying to find reasonably priced hotels. That can be a nightmare depending on where you are working as travel and accommodation costs can make quite a hole in what seems at first very good money. I have stayed in some awful places! The other main disadvantage is that in lean times, such as this year, contract work can be hard to find and you may have enforced time off between contracts.

I set up a limited company, which in the UK has many tax advantages, and it helps that my wife, who is a fellow company director, can do the accounts, calculate tax, NI and pay. If you dont have the time or the ability, there are a couple of “umbrella” companies who will do this for you for a reasonable fee.

I would highly recommend contracting to those with a bit of experience under your belt. In the current UK market I don’t think that anyone considering contracting straight out of college or university stands any chance of getting any work.

But think long and hard before you jump from full time employment into contracting - try to speak to at least one contractor first.