The nomenclature around working these days can be confusing. There are temporary employment jobs, contract positions, contract-to-hire jobs, freelance gigs, and of course, the old standby of full-time work. Out of all of these types of positions, it is contract jobs in all their forms that are increasing. According to the latest data, 60 million Americans are now engaged in some kind of contract work. What is a contract job and why are the benefits causing many people to consider this type of flexible employment as a smart career move?
What is a Contract Job?
Contract positions are typically jobs where the worker is hired for a specific type of task over a certain time period for a preset amount of money. U.S. employers find these types of temporary employment jobs very valuable, using these skilled workers to:
- Help scale up to fulfill a big contract.
- Meet seasonal demands.
- Bring in specialized labor.
- Test out an employee in a contract-to-hire arrangement, where the employer has the option to offer a permanent position within a certain timeframe.
The contract details the responsibilities and rights of the contractor and employer. Some of the things covered in a work contract include:
- Salary details.
- Employment duration.
- Work schedule.
- Benefits such as medical insurance.
- Paid time off (if there is any).
- Policy on sick leave.
- Non-compete clauses, if applicable.
Many types of contract roles have the employee working for a temporary employment agency like CTR Group. In these roles, the contractor may be offered benefits such as health insurance or paid-time-off.
Contract positions can come in a variety of forms, including:
- Full-time contracts usually encompass 35 to 40-hours of work per week. These roles may come with benefits like paid sick time or even retirement.
- Part-time contract positions are for anything less than 35-hours a week and typically do not offer benefits.
- Temporary or “zero-hour” contract positions specify that you’re called in for work when it is available. Of course, you have the right to refuse if the time is inconvenient.
- Casual contract positions don’t specify that you’ll receive a certain number of hours every week but it does specify how much you’ll be paid (an hourly rate) when work is available for you.
- Freelance contracts specify that the worker is hired to complete a specific project. These contracts typically spell out an hourly rate of pay and payment terms. If you’re freelancing, you’re considered self-employed, and will not have access to employer-sponsored benefits.
From a business perspective, contract positions are the type of temporary employment jobs perfect for today’s volatile markets. Their short-term contract recruitment efforts enable these companies to staff up in times of need without accruing the overhead costs and risks of a full-time employee. Like any at-will agreement, the employer or contractor may cancel at any time.
All of this is fine for a business, but why are Americans flocking to contract positions, sometimes choosing them over a traditional full-time job?
What are the Benefits of Contract Work?
Flexibility is probably the number one reason to consider contract positions. These positions often have a set start and end, so you can squeeze them in during a gap in your career or during a hiatus from school. Some of the biggest benefits of contract work include:
- Helps you fill a gap between full-time employment.
- Gives you additional experience—fast.
- Broadens your professional network.
- Potentially helps you land a full-time job faster.
- Higher pay over most other types of employment.
Let’s break down each of these benefits to understand why the number of contract workers is expanding in every field.
Opportunity to Fill Resume Gaps
You’ve heard the expression, “It’s easier to find a job if you have a job.” It’s certainly ironic but also very frustrating if you’re struggling to get back to work. This kind of situation can happen to just about anyone, from an older worker who experienced a layoff to a new graduate that lacks critical on-the-job experience. In these situations, you must get back to work fast to avoid any gaps in your resume that could harm your career experience. Contract temporary employment jobs are great resources to close up any harmful resume gaps and earn good money while working them.
Gain Valuable Experience, Quickly
If you’re struggling to build up your experience, contract positions are perfect. Say you’re a new high school graduate and you’re seeking to try out new types of jobs to see what you like. Or, perhaps you’re trying to shore up a resume early in your career. Contract or even contract-to-hire jobs let you try out industries, work environments, and career paths without the commitment necessary for a full-time job. While you know a contract-to-hire job lets an employer trial your work before making the offer, the reality is this system works both ways. You can also use contract positions to your advantage.
Expands Your Network
All roads lead to somewhere. Every job, every employee, and every boss you encounter expands your professional network. A series of contract positions around town automatically expands your network faster than if you had stayed in one job for several years. While a lot has changed about the work world, one thing we know is still true—the best jobs come from who you know, not what you applied to. You can use contracting to build a substantial network fast and then leverage it and your experiences to find the best job for you.
Land a Job Faster
Contract jobs come about because an employer has an urgent need. You can take advantage of this to land a job much faster than you would if you were applying for a traditional full-time role. The average job search takes three to six months. For every job you apply to, the probability of landing it is around 8.3%. Now consider contracting as a way to cut this time in half—and then some. Any type of temporary employment job is reactive from the employer’s perspective. There is some kind of burning platform needed for the employer so they probably don’t have time to go through piles of candidates. They may be more flexible in their job requirements. All of this means you’ll interview and land the job faster. Then, when you couple this with working with a temporary employment agency, it speeds up the process more. Short-term contract recruitment firms eliminate a lot of the legwork you’d normally put into the job search. The agency pushes you through the interviews, the offer, and paperwork, gets you on the payroll, and even makes sure you make it to the jobsite. If you need a job fast—contract positions
According to Dice, yes, contract jobs pay more typically than full-time roles. This is a huge benefit if you’re trying to reach financial goals faster, such as paying off student loan debt. Depending on your skills, you may even be able to negotiate a higher wage, particularly if your experience is highly in demand.
How Long Do Contract Jobs Last?
Great question with a not-so-great answer: It depends. Most contracts run 90-days to a year. The company may have the option to extend (as do you). You may receive an extension if the project takes longer than expected. Or, the employer may put you on another project. Depending on your contract, the employer may offer you a full-time position. Or, the employer may terminate the contract early, if you break a term in the agreement before the end of the term. Perhaps the contract even specified that the employer could hire you “at-will” and can cancel at any time. As we said, the answer depends on the contract itself.
Can You Quit a Contract Job?
You can quit any job but there are always ramifications for leaving early on a contract role:
- You may damage your professional reputation by creating an awkward situation that will have to be explained away later on in your next interview.
- You may damage your reputation with anyone you’ve come in contact with at that company.
- If you’re working with a temporary employment agency, you may damage any future placements with that firm.
To protect yourself and your career, make sure you understand the terms of your contract and the proper procedures for resigning.
What Happens When Your Contract is Up?
When the contract is up, again, the next steps depend on the situation. The employer may opt to sign a new contract with you. Or, the temp agency may put you on another project. Maybe your contract will be extended. If you’re not working with a temp agency and your contract ends, you’ll be left searching for the next employment opportunity instead of stepping into something new
Find Contract Work with a Temp Agency in Virgina
Hands down, the best way to find contract work is with a temporary employment agency like CTR Group. We are the leading short-term contract recruitment firm offering temp jobs in the Newport News, VA region. Find out why shipyard industry candidates choose our firm over all other temporary employment agencies in Newport News. Contact us today.