There are a lot of terms being thrown around about how a person engages with work. In addition to full-time employees (FTE), there are contractors, freelancers, gig workers, independent consultants, and project-based workers—it can get confusing.
Many of the job opportunities that we recruit for are contract positions (sometimes also referred to as “contingent labor”) within IT, digital marketing and creative, or business strategy roles. If you are not familiar with contracting or consulting, the term “contract” can seem slightly daunting or even a bit intimidating. It may feel risky to go from a full-time role to a more flexible contract position, but the benefits are attracting millions. In fact, a study from Intuit found that roughly 25 to 30% of the US workforce is now contingent, with more than 80% percent of large corporations planning on substantially increasing their use of a flexible workforce in the coming years.
To be successful, it’s crucial to work with a knowledgeable, supportive, and diligent recruiter from a well-connected and well-respected staffing agency. At Horizontal, our recruiters are experts in their industry domains and know how to match your skills and interests with the needs of our clients. Once you become a consultant with us, you have access to on-going support, industry-specific content, and training opportunities to increase your skill set.
So, why become a contractor rather than a full-time employee? Of course, there are pros and cons to each type of employment, but below are some considerations in favor of contracting:
- Consultants get paid for every hour worked. As a salaried employee, you may find yourself putting in 45-50+ hours per week, yet only getting paid for 40. Some consultants are even eligible for time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40.
- Consultants are compensated competitively and typically receive higher rates than their salaried employee counterparts. As a consultant, you are paid at a premium for your unique skills and experience. As you take on consecutive projects, you have the ability to negotiate rate increases more often than you would as a full-time employee.
- Consultants have the opportunity to work on a number of projects, with differing technologies in a variety of industries and diverse work environments. Because of this, growth and learning opportunities are virtually endless, making consultants more marketable and knowledgeable as they progress through their careers.
- Consulting offers flexibility you may not get from a full-time role. Many offer remote work, flexible hours, and you have the ability to take time off in between projects to pursue other goals.
- For recent grads, those just starting out in their careers, or individuals switching career paths, contracts offer a great way to gain necessary valuable experience and add recognizable companies to their resumes.
- In today’s market, the pace of emerging technologies is unlike anything seen in previous decades. Having the ability to work with innovative companies and have access to those projects is unique. Not only that, you have the ability to experience other workplace cultures and ideas.
A frequent misconception is that consultants are not eligible for benefits. This is true in some organizations, however at Horizontal there is the option to work as a W2 contractor. As a W2 consultant, you are eligible for comprehensive medical benefits and a 401K option. We offer our consultants retention bonuses and referral bonuses, as well as post placement support and assistance in finding subsequent projects. In addition, we provide networking and career development opportunities, host exciting events for our consultants, and do our very best to ensure our consultants are well-prepared for their roles, have the tools that they need to succeed, are happy, engaged, and ultimately fulfilled.
It’s important to keep in mind that contracts are not always short engagements. Many contracts we see from our clients end up being two-to-three-year projects. Others may only be three to six months but often get extended, so you can decide if it’s a project you’d like to continue.
They say that “variety is the spice of life,” and you can achieve that by choosing consulting as a career. If you have questions about contracting or would like further detail about consulting with Horizontal Talent, connect with us. We are here to help.