Flexibility, Freedom and Upskilling: The Perks of Contract Jobs

07/27/2021

Companies are facing major skills shortages amid digital transformation and a recovering economy, which has caused a major uptick in the number of Americans turning to contract work as a career path. Though its popularity has boomed recently, the “gig economy” is a trend that’s been gaining momentum slowly since the 1980s.

More than one-third of US workers – around 59 million Americans – participate in contract work, either as their primary or secondary jobs, according to a survey published by Statista. About half of these contract workers said they lost their previous jobs due to economic instability from the pandemic.

The economy completely transformed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Companies altered their business models to prioritize employee health and safety and workers started changing their work habits and preferences; which, for many of whom, meant leaving their job for one with more flexibility and freedom.  

Contract work in the U.S. is transforming the workforce and economy for the long haul. 85% of US workers who are currently working freelance or contract jobs said they would consider continuing in this kind of work in the next five years. By 2022, the number of gig workers in the U.S. is expected to increase exponentially and include most working Americans, according to Statista. Already, many companies are shifting from full-time employees to contract workers as a cost-saving tactic.

Curious about the experience of working as a contract employee? We’ve outlined a few major benefits for opting to take on a contract role.

Freedom and Flexibility

Autonomy is the name of the game – contract employees choose their own projects and positions, giving them control over the amount of work and type of work to be completed. According to Forbes, nearly 60% of independent gig workers consider their jobs flexible.

Some positions are labeled as “contract to hire,” so after the duration of the initial contract, an employer could ask a worker to become a permanent employee.

Contract roles vary greatly in time commitments – they can last six months, a year, or even longer on occasion. Contract workers who want to work without having set hours can specifically look for opportunities that fit their schedules or discuss with their supervisors an ideal work schedule, allowing them to both get their work accomplished and maintain a life they enjoy outside of work.

Research shows that workers are starting to value wellbeing over earnings, and contract work is the best of both worlds. A study conducted by Personal Group found that freelancers are overall more satisfied and happier than traditional workers. They found a resounding 82% of workers stating that they were proud of their career and 63% said they look forward to going to work every day. Contract work allows you to select jobs that align with your interests, making for a fulfilling and engaging work experience.

Higher Pay

Independent contractors are paid, on average, more than full-time company employees. They save company money by not taking part in some full-time employee benefits such as 401(k) matching, paid vacation and sick days as part of their compensation package.

Freelance and contractors eliminate the need for companies to create a permanent space for them since they’re only working for a specified amount of time. They also bring a lot of value for companies – when contract workers start at a company, they are watched closely for their work output and quality, making them engaged and driven workers.

Though working contract jobs doesn’t guarantee employee health insurance coverage, three-quarters of independent workers have health insurance and most others who are uninsured are covered by the Affordable Care Act. Contract workers can usually charge a higher hourly rate than what full-time employees earn as a form of compensation for securing health benefits.

Opportunities to Upskill

As a contract worker, you can often work on a few projects for several companies at once – time permitting – which diversifies your portfolio, increases your exposure to clients and broadens your skill set. As a result, these present a variety of opportunities and career exploration to freelance workers.

Freelance and contract workers also have the flexibility to dive deeper into certain industries or skillsets at their own will. It’s up to you, not your company, to decide how to advance your skills and knowledge, so you can dedicate as much time and energy to upskilling as you want.

Contrary to contract workers’ fear of becoming too heavily skilled in one industry, expertise in one area is still transferrable to other industries. Depending on the challenges that arise during each freelance job, it’s an opportunity to learn new skills in functional areas.

If you’re only temporarily working contract roles with the intent to later land a permanent position at a company, contract work is a convenient way to try out a company with no strings attached before committing to a full-time role.

Working with Addison Group

As a professional services company, Addison Group places both contract and contract-to-hire candidates in short-term and long-term jobs in a variety of industries that allow them to take a step forward in their careers. Whether you’re an experienced contract worker or looking to start your freelance career, we’re here to help you find your next position. Check out our current opportunities.