There’s no doubt about it: Contract work is on the rise. Demand for contractors has exploded over the recent years, as more Australians join the gig economy and companies discover the benefits of hiring contractors.

COVID-19 has only accelerated these hiring trends. Faced with frozen headcounts and economic uncertainty, many employers are opting for temp workers to help them navigate the coming months and years. If you’re thinking of making the switch to contracting, now might be the perfect time to do so.

RELATED: How do contractors fit business needs?

However, if you’re just getting started, chances are you have plenty of questions:

  • Where do you find work?
  • What is the real difference between a contractor versus an employee?
  • And is it the right move for you?


In this article, we provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions around contract work.

What is contract work?

Contract work is where an employee works with an employer on a temporary employment contract. This type of work can come in many forms: you can work on contract jobs or subcontract jobs, take on temp work or interim roles, or work as a freelance.

What’s the difference between an employee and a contractor?

Employees are permanent workers within a company, either in a part-time or full-time capacity. They have a fixed role and responsibility in an organisation, receive employee benefits such as a salary, superannuation and annual leave, and have taxes withheld from these wages.

On the other hand, contractors are brought in for a fixed period of time, to address a specific need or assist with a project within a company. This timeframe can range from one day to months, or even years.

How long do contracts normally last?

It depends. Some might be a year or two, while others are only for a few months. The length of the contract will depend on the employer, the type of contract, and the industry you’re in.

How do contractors get paid?

When you’re working as a contractor, you’ll either get paid on an hourly rate, a day rate, or a fixed rate for a project. You’ll generally earn a higher rate than a full-time employee and get paid for any overtime hours. However, keep in mind that you’re responsible for your own taxes and super contributions, and you don’t receive benefits such as annual leave or sick leave.

Can contracting help my career?

There are plenty of benefits to contract work. You can set your own hours, and create flexible work conditions that would be challenging to negotiate in a permanent role. Exposure to a variety of companies and roles also opens up opportunities to make contacts and trial different job types. On top of this, each contract role provides the chance to impress a prospective employer while widening skills and building experience.

This type of employment arrangement is particularly beneficial following the COVID-19 pandemic, as many employers might not be looking to hire permanent staff. It also provides much-needed income, particularly if you’re between jobs or lost your role as a result of the pandemic.

Where do I find work?

A few years ago, it was tough to know where to look for temp jobs. However, today there are plenty of digital platforms out there that connect employees to organisations, such as Upwork, Freelancer, and industry-specific marketplaces like HiPages.

Many organisations also work closely with recruitment consultants to fill contract roles. If you’re on the lookout for temp work in Australia, check out our contracting jobs here or speak to one of our recruitment consultants to find out more.

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

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