As previously discussed on this blog, in Canada this recession has pushed a number of people into self-employment. In the U.S., the trend has been less pronounced. Yet I suspect one part of the trend is happening, or soon will, in America – the move by many firms to hire “contract” employees who technically are not employees in that no deductions are taken from their pay and no extended medical or dental benefits are offered.
In Canada, some of the newly self-employed are launching new entrepreneurial start-up businesses that eventually may hire dozens of people or more. Entrepreneurship seems to be doing better in Canada than it has in a while.
But many “self-employed” persons are working on contracts in positions that were formerly salaried. A corporate recruiter recently explained the trend in the Globe and Mail:
Jeff Aplin, Calgary-based executive vice-president with David Aplin Recruiting, has also noticed a shift to more temporary work. Across Canada, he’s seen a surge of demand for contract consultants in accounting, engineering or IT to work a fixed term with a fixed task. “There’s definitely more appetite for a flexible work force” he says.
Because the 21st century economy will likely require the ability to adapt and change quickly, successful companies will likely want a certain percentage of their staff to be on fixed term contracts. Contractors may be a larger part of the future workforce.
Just because employers prefer it doesn’t mean those with talent to “sell” will want it. (And the unemployment rate in many skilled areas isn’t that high so, even in this down time, employees have some power here). Presumably, contractors receive some advantages, such as increased pay to compensate for the lower benefits.
So, for contractors, what are the advantages? What will employers need to offer in the future to have a healthy pool of contractors to choose from when they need them?
Do you primarily work on contract, doing work that others are paid on salary for?
Do you like the freedom? Or would you prefer a salaried position with set vacation allotments, benefits, etc.?