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  • Writer's pictureShaun Chow

Navigating the Job Market: Contract vs. Perm

The job market is diverse, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that caters to everyone's needs, but it is useful to consider several key aspects before making a decision.

The main distinction between contracting and permanent employment lies in the nature and duration of employment. Contracting involves the hiring of an individual for a specific project or task, with the understanding that the employment will end upon completion of the project. On the other hand, permanent employment entails the hiring of an individual for an indefinite period, usually characterized by a long-term job tenure with a company or organization. When tossing up between a contract and a permanent job offer, it is important to understand the key differences between the two options. The job market is diverse, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution that caters to everyone's needs, but it is useful to consider several key aspects before making a decision.

Personal Finances

Contracting can be a financially rewarding career path as contractors often have the ability to negotiate higher pay rates than permanent employees. This is because they are generally considered to be experts in their field and are in high demand. Some contracts can offer pay rates that are 30% or more higher than the earning potential of a similar permanent role. However, this higher earning potential comes with the trade-off of an unstable income. Contractors may not have a steady stream of work, and the duration of a contract can vary greatly. This means that a contractor may go through periods of high income followed by periods of little or no income. In contrast, permanent roles provide more stable cashflow, as employees receive a regular salary regardless of the workload. Permanent roles also provide benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off. However, the earning potential in a permanent role may not be as high as it is in a contractor role. Permanent employees generally have a set salary and may not have the same opportunity to negotiate higher pay rates. Additionally, Permanent employees may not have the same level of expertise in their field as contractors, and as a result, may not have the same earning potential. Job Security

Contractors, also known as freelancers or independent contractors, are typically hired on a project basis. As a result, they run the risk of having their roles terminated abruptly once the project is completed. This can be a significant disadvantage for those who value job security and the stability of a steady income. It can be especially challenging for those who rely on contracting as their primary source of income, as they may find themselves searching for new employment every few months or even weeks. On the other hand, permanent roles offer more job security as employees are typically hired on a full-time basis and are protected by employment laws. This can provide a sense of stability and security for those who value job security above all else. However, permanent roles may not offer the same level of excitement and diversity as contracting roles. Future Financial Plans

Banks tend to view contractor positions as riskier than permanent positions, as contractors may not have a steady income and may not have the same level of job security. As a result, it may be challenging for contractors to secure loans in the future. Banks may require a higher credit score or a larger down payment from contractors, or may even deny the loan altogether. This can make it difficult for contractors to purchase a home, finance a car, or invest in other large purchases. It is advisable for contractors to consult with a financial advisor before accepting a job offer, particularly if they have significant financial needs in the future. A financial advisor can provide guidance on how to mitigate the risk of loan denial and can provide strategies for saving and investing money. They can also help contractors plan for the future and make sure they are financially prepared for any eventualities. Future Career Trajectory

Contracting roles, such as freelance or project-based work, can provide a fast-paced learning experience and exposure to a wide range of projects in a short amount of time. This can be beneficial for individuals who are looking to gain a diverse set of skills and experience quickly. Additionally, contracting roles often involve working with different clients and teams, which can expose individuals to different working styles and approaches, further enhancing their skills and experience. On the other hand, permanent roles may not offer the same level of growth and development as contracting roles. Permanent roles tend to be more specialized and may limit the exposure and experience that individuals can gain. Additionally, in a permanent role, an individual may be stuck in a specific department or job function, which can limit their ability to gain exposure to different areas of the company or industry. Additional Job Benefits

Permanent positions come with a host of additional benefits that can greatly enhance an employee's overall experience. One of the most notable benefits is the provision of parking privileges. This can be a significant perk, particularly for employees who commute to work on a daily basis. It can provide a sense of convenience, and can also save employees a considerable amount of money in parking fees. Another benefit that comes with permanent positions is the potential for salary bonuses and salary insurance. These benefits can greatly supplement an employee's income and can provide a sense of financial security. Salary bonuses are often awarded to employees who have exceeded expectations or have made significant contributions to the company. Salary insurance, on the other hand, can provide an employee with a sense of security in the event of unexpected job loss. Market Conditions

In a loose labour market, where the demand for skilled workers is low and the supply is high, contractors may have a harder time finding and keeping work. This is because their position is often considered less secure than that of permanent employees, who typically have more job security and benefits, such as redundancy clauses. Redundancy clauses in permanent contracts provide a safety net for employees in the event that their position is no longer needed or the company experiences financial difficulties. Contractors, on the other hand, may not have these protections and can be more easily let go when companies are downsizing or looking to cut costs. Additionally, contractors may be more likely to be replaced by permanent employees, especially if the company is looking for long-term stability. As a result, contractors may be more vulnerable to job loss and may need to be more proactive in searching for and securing new contracts. Work Environment

Contractors, as independent workers, may not have the same level of support and resources as permanent employees within a work environment. They may not have access to the same training or development opportunities, or may not have a dedicated supervisor or mentor to provide guidance and support. Additionally, contractors may have to work in fast-paced and dynamic environments, as they may be brought in to work on specific projects or to fill a temporary need. In conclusion, the decision between contracting and permanent roles is a personal one and can be affected by a variety of factors such as earning potential, job security, work environment, and lifestyle preferences. Both contracting and permanent roles have their own set of pros and cons, and it's important to carefully consider all these factors. Ultimately, it's important to make an informed decision that aligns with your overall goals and lifestyle preferences. Whether it's a contracting role or a permanent role, it's important to weigh the pros and cons and choose the option that best fits your needs and aspirations. It's also worth noting that this decision is not set in.


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