Contracting in Australia is a popular way for workers to enjoy flexibility and autonomy over their work, while still enjoying some of the benefits and perks of a full-time employee.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 12.6 million people employed in Australia as of August 2018, and of those, 8 per cent were classified as independent contractors.

Which sectors employ the most contractors?

Of more than a million contractors in Australia, the largest portion of those can be found working in the construction industry. In fact, just over a quarter, 26 per cent, of all contractors in Australia are in this sector.

The construction industry is followed by contractors working in administrative and support services at 20 per cent.

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Other common fields include professional, scientific and technical services, arts and recreation services, and transport, postal, and warehousing. Therefore, if you’re looking at becoming an independent contractor in Australia, you may find it easiest to enter into the construction sector.

However, there are hundreds of thousands of contractors in other areas, covering a range of skills sets and levels, meaning you may be able to find a contracting role regardless of your industry.

How to become a contractor in Australia

Naturally, like any non-entry level job in Australia, the first step to becoming a contractor is to offer experience and a valuable skillset. If there are clients and customers out there prepared to pay for those services, there are a few things you will need to organise on the legal side of things before you can turn those skills into a business.

As you will be self-employed as a contractor, you will set yourself up with your own Australian Business Number, commonly referred to as an ABN, to get started. You will need to advertise your work, set your own wages and prices, determine your contracts with clients, invoice your clients, ensure you are insured, and organise your own taxes (or at least, hire a professional accountant to do so).

Note that if you are interested in becoming a building contractor, you will need to apply for a contractor licence in your state or territory to legally perform the work.

RELATED: 7 smart ways to add value as a contractor

Is contracting growing, dropping, or staying the same?

The demand for contracting is currently on the rise, as one forecast suggests that the temporary staff services industry will grow to $26.4 billion by 2024, an annual increase of 2.2 per cent, largely driven by demand from the professional, scientific and technical services sectors, and others. This would suggest that even if your skills lay outside of the main contracting construction sector, there may soon be even more possibilities available.

In the construction sector specifically, predictions show there will likely be more jobs available. Jobs Outlook forecast roughly 70,000 job openings over the next five years for builders and plumbers, indicating strong growth in the industry during that time.

Are you looking at contracting in Australia? Chat to our recruiters about finding contracting jobs. 

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