Contract staff are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic’s impact on the labour market. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), contractors and freelancers now make up around 10% of all employment in the professional services space.

Contract jobs and temp employment are increasingly used to support busy periods, cover maternity leave or long service leave, and provide specialised skills for specific projects. If you’re looking for more variety in your career, or increased flexibility, contracting might be the way to go.

We’ve compiled some of the key benefits of contracting to help you decide whether to make the switch.

RELATED: How do contractors fit business needs?

The increase of contract work in Australia

Contract and subcontract work has always been common in blue collar jobs. However, nowadays the gig economy has penetrated every industry, from IT to marketing and HR.

The latest figures by the ABS show that 27% of contractors work in Construction, while 17% work in Administration and Support Services, and 14% in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. This is only set to continue in the coming year, as more companies navigate frozen headcounts and reduced hiring budgets as a result of COVID-19.

What are the benefits of contract employment?

1. Freedom and flexibility

If you’ve always dreamed of four-day work weeks or having more free time to pursue your other hobbies, contracting gives you the freedom and flexibility to do just that.

As a contract worker, you’re free to choose when and where you work, as well as the jobs you’d prefer to undertake. The flexible nature of contract work also gives you greater control over your work life balance: you can opt for time off between contracts, or tailor your hours to suit your schedule.

2. Improve your transferable skills

Careers are no longer about picking one lane and sticking with it until retirement. In fact, a recent study from McCrindle revealed that the average Australian will have 5 different careers and 17 different employers in their lifetime.

In this ever-changing job environment, it’s more important than ever to develop your transferable skills. Contracting gives you the opportunity to work across a broad range of projects or industries — all of which help sharpen valuable skills such as communication, creativity, and adaptability.

3. Better pay conditions

In many sectors, contractors are paid significantly more than permanent employees. Contractors can earn up double the amount of a full-time worker per hour or day, with the added bonus of getting overtime pay for every extra hour worked. Contract and temp jobs also allow you to set your own rate for jobs and projects — plus, you can take on additional jobs if you need extra income.

However, bear in mind that as a contractor, you won’t receive sick pay or annual leave. You’re also responsible for your own super contributions.

4. More remote work opportunities

The world is embracing remote work, and COVID-19 only accelerated this shift. As a contractor, you’re not bound by your physical office. Many roles, such as admin services or teaching, don’t require you to be in a fixed location. Work from home, in a co-working space, or pop into the office once per week — it’s up to you.

Another great benefit of contracting is the opportunity to work with companies outside of Australia. Platforms like Upwork and Freelancer make it easy to connect with businesses overseas who might be looking for remote talent to fill their positions. If you prefer to work at night, or just want to experience a different working culture, the gig economy is a great way to do it.

5. Test the waters with a new employer

If your dream employer isn’t hiring permanent staff, or you’re not quite sure whether you’d mesh with a company, temp work is an opportunity to dip your toe in the water and see for yourself if it’s a good fit.

Contracting is a great way to get your foot in the door’of desired companies; allowing you to prove your worth and show how you fit into the corporate culture. It also gives the employer an opportunity to assess you for upcoming roles and allows you to experience the company/position before committing to permanent employment.

Want to get started with contracting? Reach out to our temp agency to discover the current contract opportunities in your profession.

Why else are businesses hiring contractors? Meet the Mobile Economy here.

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