Ever wanted to be your own boss? Becoming a contractor could be for you!Travis O’Rourkeon June 2, 2023 at 3:59 pm Career advice | Career tips


The demand for non-permanent workers has increased over the last few years, making it a lucrative market for contractors. People with the right specialist skills can be of use to a lot of organisations and enjoy plenty of benefits in the process. 

Is this career path right for you? Does it provide you with the opportunities you’re looking for? And, if so, how can you get started? 

I recently led a LinkedIn live event in which I explored the world of contracting, discussing everything from the benefits of being a contractor to the skills you’ll need. Here are the key takeaway points. 

Why are contractors in demand? 

Not only are contractors highly sought after right now, but I expect it to be the same into 2024 and possibly beyond that. How come? 

One of the main reasons is the supply of skilled workers – or, rather, lack of supply. Let’s pick on technology as an example. There just aren’t enough technology workers. Employers need to bring in people with these skills, and contractors are the solution, especially if it takes less time to onboard them. 

Hiring contractors also makes it easier for employers to scale up or down the size of their workforce. There are a number of reasons for this. Here in Canada, it could be that the snowfall means it’s unwise to hire agricultural workers all year round. Meanwhile, in construction, the need for workers is dependent on the length and size of the project. 

Which industries are hiring? 

The simple answer is, pretty much all of them. However, our own insights at Hays show us that there are some areas where contractors are particularly in demand. 

An obvious one to start with is technology. Not only are big tech firms hiring non-permanent staff, but organisations in other sectors, such as banks and government bodies, are looking for IT contractors to support them as they grow or evolve in the digital space. James Milligan, Global Head of Technology Solutions at Hay, has put together some things to consider before you jump in. 

Engineers have specialist skills that appeal to businesses in the sector, as well as those in other areas, and is therefore a profession that lends itself to contracting. We also have vocations that are better suited to shorter projects as opposed to permanent employment, such as mining and consulting.  

What are the advantages to being a contractor? 

As alluded to in the title, you’re ultimately your own boss. It’s part of the legal status! This gives you a lot of freedom – you can choose when to work, and who your clients are. According to 41% of the respondents to a recent poll that Hays posted on LinkedIn, this is the biggest advantage of leaving full-time employment behind. 

Then there’s the total compensation. As opposed to being a regular employee who earns the salary offered by your employer, as a contractor, you can set their own rates. If you offer your services on an hourly basis, this could result in a higher annual income. Maybe the hourly worker has a second customer or passion project which could bring in more money. 

It’s much more common for contractors to be flexible workers. Your employer might not need to see you every day, or even at all – just as long as the work is getting completed. 

What are the skills and traits you need? 

It probably goes without saying that you’ll need the technical expertise, but what else is important? 

A key one is being motivated. If a contract ends every few months, you have to be prepared to get out there and find your next assignment. My colleague, Marc Burrage, has written about this at greater length here

Are you active on LinkedIn and comfortable in reaching out to your network? Following another Hays poll on LinkedIn, 52% of the 10,045 respondents stated that the most important trait for a contractor is the ability to build and maintain relationships.  

Being your own boss, you need to be able to manage your business. This means keeping a calendar, dealing with insurance requirements and thinking about the best way to actually pay yourself. 

How can I find out more? 

This article only scratches the surface of what I discussed during the event. To watch me go into more detail on all of the topics above and more, plus hear my answers to questions from the audience, I recommend you watch the event back in full here

The post Ever wanted to be your own boss? Becoming a contractor could be for you! appeared first on Viewpoint – careers advice blog.

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