Working 9 to 5 isn’t the only way to make a living. The number of people turning to self-employment and contracting has increased by 25% since 2001 with no signs of slowing down. Despite the rise of the ‘gig economy’, contractors have been working this way for years and 70% of them do so out of choice instead of necessity – but is it right for you?

A recent survey shows that 97% of contractors are happier at work than their permanent counterparts, identifying flexibility as their biggest benefit.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of freelance work. Some of the most obvious perks include choosing your own hours and dictating your rate of pay. In Engineering and IT sectors especially, this can be significantly higher than if you were an employee.

On the flip side, there’s a lot of work that goes into being a contractor and you lose the security that comes alongside a permanent role.

We’ve put together a list of pros and cons of being a contractor to help you decide if it’s the right way forward for you.

The Pros of Being a Contractor

Attractive pay – The amount you earn can fluctuate depending on the demand in the marketplace and economic climate, but as a contractor, it’s highly likely you’ll earn more for your services than that of a permanent employee doing the same job.

You are your own boss – Being a contractor means that you can select your own work depending on your preferences (location, hours, pay) and it’s your decision whether to accept or not.  This is especially a pro in the current economic climate.

Flexible working – Whether it’s nights, days, long or short shifts, you should be able to negotiate working hours that suit your lifestyle.  We know plenty of contractors who really value this element – fitting in with your partner’s shifts, avoiding the rush hour commute… flexibility can be really helpful.

Opportunities – These days, you be invited to participate in plenty of opportunities for personal development. Many contractors can shift between several job roles, each of which can provide them with a new skill, whether it be a leadership or technology based.

The Cons of Being a Contractor

Unpopularity – The reality is that as a contractor you probably won’t become best friends with your permanent colleagues who are aware of the going contractor rates. But we speak to many contractors who actually really value not being tied to one business, they love being able to adapt to new environments and not necessarily get involved in the “trappings” of a permanent role.

Security – Job security may feel like a thing of the past. When your project ends (sometimes suddenly) or demands change and you’re no longer required, you will be out work until you find your next assignment. Depending on the length of your contracts, this could be the case several times a year.

No (perceived) employment perks – Unlike permanent work, contracting doesn’t come with sick pay, holiday pay, or pension contribution. Your inflated pay rate is essentially compensation to cover these employed perks, but it requires planning and budgeting on your behalf.

Admin work – Even with the help of an accountant, as a director of a limited company you will have paperwork to do to ensure you’re compliant with regulations such as IR35. This can seem on the surface a little daunting, there are plenty of reputable specialists available to help you to register a limited company or enlist the help of an umbrella company to get you started.

Most importantly, to get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers in the contract market space, it’s all about having a good CV and stand-out LinkedIn profile that will enable you to quickly secure your next assignment.

At ABCV Solutions, we help contractors within a number of engineering industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing and infrastructure. We have a team of writing experts who have the skills and knowledge to transform tired and tedious technical CVs into eye-catching, keyword-rich documents that effectively demonstrate your relevance in the marketplace.

Contact us today to find out more.