Contract employment has its advantages and disadvantages. Within the current economic environment, companies and professionals are beginning to see that these advantages outweigh the downsides, and it’s becoming a popular career option for professionals of all levels of experience. Here are 6 of the top reasons why contract employment is popular in Singapore.
1. It gives the contractor flexibility.
Contract terms can last for a few months for situations like maternity cover or support while an open role is filled. They can also run up to a full year or more for project rollouts, or if a company is reviewing staffing needs or hiring budget for permanent positions. Contractors are able to use this variety to their advantage to build out a career with a good amount of flexibility. Contractors are able to choose when they work, if they want to take breaks in between jobs, or if they want to fill up a year or more and then take a break.
The flexibility can also be an advantage if you have major life changes, family commitments, are planning to study, or are pursuing a passion project and you need income until it gets off the ground. With a flexible timeline, contractors can plan out their upcoming year in a way that works for them.
As long as contractors take the essential step or learning how to build out a pipeline of freelance jobs and opportunities, working in this way provides a lot of flexibility that can't be found with a full-time, permanent job.
2. It can be well-paid.
Many contracting jobs pay a higher per hour rate than full time positions since they come with different benefits and hiring conditions. Additionally, for those with highly specialised experienced, the acceptable asking rate is higher due to that expertise. Some of Singapore's top paying contractor jobs are in finance and IT, but virtually any contracting professional who has the right experience for a company’s need can negotiate a favorable rate.
3. It offers a variety of experience in a short time.
Many contractors find themselves working for several different companies in year. They may be working for a company in the banking industry for the first half of the year, and then move into tech in their next contract role. Even if the job itself is similar, contractors are able to gain a large amount of experience in a much shorter time frame than in a permanent role. Exposure to different situations, various teams, and seeing solutions from different perspectives adds to this experience.
4. It builds transferable and soft skills.
As a contractor, professionals usually have to hit the ground running, communicate effectively from day one, learn how to quickly do the job at hand, and build rapport with other team members quickly. Doing this builds up soft skills and transferable skills fairly quickly, as the short time frame requires adaptability to be successful.
These soft skills such as communication, stakeholder management, teamwork and problem solving are highly transferable to new roles, and in high demand for professionals across industries.
5. It helps with gaps in employment opportunities.
In an economic downturn, there are fewer open roles available and higher competition - this is the reality that many professionals face. However, companies still have hiring needs, and increasingly turn to contract roles as a temporary solution to those needs. Professionals are finding that even if there aren’t many full time jobs available in their field, there are opportunities for contract work, or for project-based roles. These contracts are an ideal temporary measure for professionals out of work - and as always contract work usually has the option of turning to full time work down the road.
6. There is always a way back to a full time job.
If a professional tries contracting and finds that it isn’t right for any number of reasons, it’s fairly easy to find the way back to full time employment. The experience and soft skills gained as a contractor help prepare for success in any role. Contracting also helps build up networks and references - all advantages when preparing to make the way back into the workforce in a full time, permanent role.
Contracting employment is popular in Singapore for all these reasons listed above and we see more professionals turning to contracting as a full time career option. Contract professionals are in high demand at the moment, and can find interesting roles in any function or industry. If you’re thinking of giving contracting a try, start here with open contracting jobs.