Most members of the current American labor force were raised during an age when long-term, full-time permanent employment was considered not just an aspirational goal, but the gold standard of employment. Beyond the reward of a regular salary, benefits and job security, the position offered a certain symbolic significance – a preferred status among employees. The reality for today’s workers, however, looks much different than that Norman Rockwell-era portrait of employment where contract work offers more upside.
Not only have some of the typical perks of permanent employment fallen by the wayside over the years, but at the same time options for contract work have improved dramatically. And although there may be advantages on each side, there’s an argument to be made that contingent labor has actually become more attractive and lucrative for some employees than traditional permanent employment.
Every company is different, of course, and certain employees will find value in a permanent position where others don’t. But by and large, today’s labor market favors the enterprising contract worker. Consider why:
Raises. Put simply, with contract work, you can raise your rates whenever you choose. That isn’t as easy for a staff employee who agrees to a salary, then finds their income shackled to annual reviews, company performance and who knows how many other whims. Often, a full-time employee deserves more, especially as they gain experience and build a quality portfolio – yet they simply aren’t aware of it. A talent cloud offers contractors a platform and constant negotiating flexibility, connecting them with interested employers and empowering them to earn what the market will bear at any given moment.
Overtime pay. Many of us have worked full-time, salaried positions for employers who expect us to put in whatever time is required to get the job done. Even if you are required to work 60 or more hours in a week, for most “highly-compensated” employees, you will not be entitled to any incremental compensation for the overtime. With contract work, however, employers are required to compensate you for each hour worked, including overtime. You could be working side-by-side with a salaried employee doing the exact same job for 60 hours in a week. They would get paid for 40 hours, but you would get paid for all 60, and most often, overtime is paid at time and a half. For jobs that customarily require employees to work overtime, it is not uncommon for newly-minted contractors to double their previous compensation solely on the basis of having to be paid for their overtime hours.
Ratings and reviews. Talent cloud performance reviews hold different currency – and tend to be more democratic – than those attached to full-time positions. A salaried employee, for instance, may receive glowing reviews for five years running and still be denied a raise based on their employer’s profits, department restrictions or any number of other factors. A contractor working through PeopleCaddie, on the other hand, has a profile that features all of their ratings and reviews from previous employers within the talent cloud – a profile automatically aggregated for every hiring manager in the network looking for a contractor like them. Talent clouds don’t just help contractors put their best foot forward – they’re on a constant search to find your next great gig.
Benefits. For many, the argument for full-time employment has been an open-and-shut case: benefits. But health insurance, short- and long-term disability and 401k matches are no longer the exclusive purview of companies offering salaried employment. Many talent clouds, including PeopleCaddie, offer benefits to contractors who work within their systems. Often, they’ll even set aside taxes from a contractor’s paychecks to make their annual filings with the IRS less of a hassle – and help them avoid any budgeting issues.
Some workers find comfort in the routine and familiarity of full-time employment, and that’s OK. But many of the internal and external pressures a contractor once felt to find “steady” or “stable” work as a W-2 employee no longer apply. For highly-skilled contractors, the professional job market is a bold – and more lucrative – new world.
Looking to take advantage of our talent cloud? Check out our jobs page.