As we put more distance between us and the worst of the pandemic’s employment fallout, and as more businesses have come to learn the benefit of a remote workforce, the time is ripe for contractors everywhere to find better, flexible job opportunities. In particular, Canadian contractors are in a position to capitalize on a booming freelance market that offers them specific benefits.
Many American public accounting firms, for example, are in search of accountants familiar with U.S. GAAP. At a moment when labor scarcity and competition among firms have driven up pay rates (20-30 percent over the past two years), Canadian contractors have arguably never been more valuable. And given the favorable exchange rate, compensation from U.S.-based employers becomes even more attractive for contractors located over the northern border.
With that in mind, here are some roles in high demand that Canadian contractors are in position to take advantage of:
External auditors. Assurance busy season, which is right around the corner, is an annual right of passage that drives demand for contractors who can supplement internal teams at public accounting firms. The opportunities it creates tend to be contracts lasting roughly four to six months and typically requiring long work weeks. But unlike permanent (salaried) employees, contractors are paid for every hour they work, including overtime. A freelancer who puts in 60 or more hours per week during the busy season has a tremendous opportunity to make a lot of money in a relatively short period of time.
Financial due diligence consultants. The boom in SPACs and M&A transactions has led to strong demand for consultants to assist with preparing for or consummating those deals.
Internal and compliance auditors. Some U.S. accounting firms supplement their teams during the busy season with offshore talent. In the past, auditors from countries like South Africa traveled to the United States for the duration of the audit busy season – a work model that has been disrupted by travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. This and strong demand for services have pushed accounting firms to look for additional ways to tap into the global talent pool. Now U.S. employers are increasingly looking to Canada as a nearby source of strong English-speaking, GAAP-knowledgeable, time zone-compatible talent. Employers generally feel more secure about their networks being accessed from Canada, and any necessary trips to headquarters or a client site in the U.S. will be shorter and less expensive than most other countries.
Cybersecurity and IT risk consultants. With the increase in high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks, senior technology leaders have been aggressively seeking to shore up their security solutions. This has driven steep growth in demand for cybersecurity and IT risk professionals. U.S. companies have often looked to offshore resources and/or skilled non-U.S. residents with green cards or work visas, and the pandemic has forced more reluctant employers to embrace remote work models. Once employees demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a fully remote or hybrid environment, the minds of leadership are often opened to the viability of leveraging the global talent pool.
Recruiters. With so many firms struggling to land good talent, skilled recruiters are in very high demand – particularly those with relevant industry experience. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the hardest job to recruit for is recruiters, and monthly U.S. job postings for recruiters have more than doubled since February 2020 to nearly 148,000 in September.
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