Contracting: How It Works
With recruitment often split into permanent and contract divisions, for new workers or those looking to make a change, contracting is certainly something to explore.
What is it?
Contract employment means that you work within a focussed role for a defined period of time. This can be anything from as little as 6-8 weeks, or as much as 12 months. Because of the very nature of these defined contract periods, contract employment has a high turnover in terms of the number of jobs that a worker fills. So for example, if you have skills as a Panel Wirer and you enter into a 6 week contract with an employer, for those 6 weeks you complete panel wiring tasks – and only panel wiring tasks - for the duration of that particular contract.
Some of the more traditional grievances within a working life - repetitiveness, complacency and a lack of control over a worker's life - are all eliminated when working as a contractor. As a contractor, you effectively have the flexibility to change your career and life path as and when you wish.
To simplify and explain the contract process, we’ve broken it down into 5 easy steps:
- You will be engaged by a recruitment company about providing your skills to clients.
- The recruitment company sources a suitable role for you.
- Once placed, you provide your skills and services within this role to the end client.
- You submit your timesheets as approved by the client to your recruitment company according to their deadlines.
- You receive your pay-packet directly from your recruitment company.
So why should you give contracting a go?
As you can probably tell, freedom is a key benefit brought to you by contract employment. If for example you fancy getting the most out of the ski season, or you’re just wanting to take an extended break, with contract employment you can press the pause and go buttons as per your life requirements.
But it’s not just this.
There’s also the obvious draw of increased wages owing to the fact that normally, a lack of job security is offset by higher wages in contract roles. Not only this, where expenses can’t be claimed within a PAYE role, contract employment holds no such restrictions. With this, you also have reduced tax liability on your end-of-month pay packet.
Most importantly, because of a significant skills shortage in the UK, if you’ve got skills, you’ll likely be in demand which puts you in a great position when planning your next steps.
But let’s not get carried away...
Whilst contract employment does have its great benefits, it isn’t always plain sailing.
To explain why this is, let’s refer back to our previous Panel Wirer example:
Within your 6 week Panel Wirer contract, your remit will most likely involve panel wiring and only panel wiring. It is you, your role, your bench, your tools. For some, that’s the way they’d prefer it.
But if you are a more team-orientated person who revels in the camaraderie and collective efforts that team based remits involve, contracting may prove a lonely arena for you to operate in.
Further unsuitability might come if you are a creative and expansive thinker. The reality of executing the same tasks over and over again without the freedom to develop and grow your role within a company may prove an uncomfortably restrictive aspect within your professional life.
Finally, the flipside of job flexibility also means that within your life as a contractor, there are bound to be periods of problematic uncertainty. Let’s say that you are approaching the Christmas period and the industry you have skills in undergoes a slump; employers are unlikely to expand their operations in an otherwise financially dependent time for yourself. So whilst the flexibility of contracting should be celebrated, make sure you are aware of the potential problems that can arise before committing yourself.
I want in!
If contracting sounds like something you’d like to start out with, or even get back into, browse our jobs now.
Alternatively, if you want to learn more, please feel free to contact our contract specialists on: 01442 299030