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  • Five signs it’s time to switch to contracting


    If you started the New Year dreading the idea of heading back to work, perhaps it’s a sign that the 9 to 5 employee world you work in no longer fits your needs.

    Working in technical and engineering industries, you’ll have no doubt worked with contractors, and perhaps even given a little thought into whether it would suit you.

    Below we take a look at the top five signs that it might be time to make that switch:



    You want to drive your career

    Working for an employer means you don’t always get opportunities to progress or work in other sectors. One of the main perks of freelancing is that you are in control of which jobs and sectors you work in. Taking the leap to going it alone can often mean there are more opportunities to work at a higher level, or on large scale UK engineering and infrastructure works that you wouldn’t normally have access to.



    You enjoy project led work

    If you’re sometimes seconded to projects and find them more interesting than your day job, chances are you thrive on the project led approach to working. As contract work is temporary, clients often opt to bring in a team of freelancers to complete projects where they do not need to employ permanent, long-term staff. Depending on their scale, projects can last a few months, or several years, and provide a great boost to your CV. Being involved in these projects can often provide a great challenge and increased job satisfaction when the project is delivered to the client.



    You’ve built up a lot of industry connections

    If you’ve worked in your sector for several years, you will have picked up a wide range of contacts including contractors, sub-contractors and clients you’ve worked for. Believe it or not, this little black book could be a sign that you’d be successful going it alone. Contractors often pick up work through their network.

    By regularly keeping in touch with these contacts you’ll pick up information on new projects, and contract work out for scope – and as it’s such a small world you’ll often find shared connections to support your job hunting.



    You’re keen to earn more

    You may find the pay structure in your current role prevents you from moving up the pay scale. Often larger companies work on graded pay, with employees having to meet certain requirements before they can put forward a case to move up a grade. The great thing about freelancing is that you can attract a higher rate of hourly pay, which can provide a great boost to your annual salary.

    Of course working as a contractor means you’ll have to consider self-funding other essential requirements such as pension and insurances – but with an average managerial daily rate of £591 and £532 for technical professionals1, you could still be earning more money annually after deductions.

    1IPSE – Freelance Confidence Index, Quarter 3 2017



    You want a more flexible approach to work

    If the daily commute and short holiday allowance isn’t giving you the work-life balance you’d like, there may be an opportunity to achieve it through contracting. Working hours could be negotiated to allow you to take a more active role within your family, and managerial roles may accommodate working from home using remote working tools.

    The benefit of a higher hourly rate compared with direct employment means you may not need to work across the entire year either. Some contractors only work 6-9 months of the year, opting to take the summer holidays off to spend with family, or finish the working year early.



    Whatever the signs you may be noticing that make you feel frustrated or restless in your current role, it’s certainly worth investigating whether a contracting lifestyle would better suit you.

    Ready to begin the search for your first contracting job?

    Take a look at our current vacancies.