We’ve been conditioned to believe that the best jobs are full-time positions. Salary. Benefits. Security. Staff opportunities are expected to be the goal of every responsible adult – especially those with a family and the need for a settled lifestyle. But this isn’t the 1950s, you aren’t your grandfather and even the promise of a gold watch at the end of a long and industrious stint as a full-time staffer can no longer be counted on today. If workers hadn’t received the message before the pandemic flipped the job market on its ear, they’re hearing it loud and clear now: a career is entirely what you make of it. And for many working parents, they’re noticing the benefits of contract work.
Mind you, that’s a good thing. For too long, many American workers felt stuck in full-time roles, with little choice but to slog through the monotony. Working parents, in particular, sensed higher stakes: mouths to feed, insurance to cover their little ones, 401(k)s or pensions to ensure they had something socked away after the kids were all grown up and starting families of their own. The traditional rules, however, are changing.
Today, with more companies turning to contractors, old perceptions about freelancing – namely, that it’s a risky, unvalued, fringe existence – are fading. Contractors increasingly are critical to the mission of most organizations, and are regarded with the same respect and appreciation as full-timers. And as such, many workers – including those with family at home – are beginning to wake up to the benefits of freelancing.
Increased compensation. The vast majority of contractors earn more per hour than salaried employees (more than $5,000 annually, according to one recent survey – but often much more). And unlike staffers, freelancers keep earning anytime they remain on the clock beyond 40 hours. Some working parents can rely on a spouse who receives good benefits through their own employer, but single parents and contractor couples still have options. Many staffing agencies and talent clouds, such as PeopleCaddie, offer their contractors benefits, including robust healthcare insurance coverage – the non-negotiable necessity that had long shackled many full-timers to thankless staff jobs.
Flexibility. Many contract gigs allow for (and, in some cases, encourage) work from home. This can be an enormous perk – not to mention a sizable cost savings – for freelancers who prefer to avoid sending their young children to daycare. Work-from-home contract gigs cut out the daily commute, giving back a freelancer hours in their life and perhaps translating to fewer missed games and recitals. A recent analysis by a Stanford economist showed that employees value work-from-home flexibility about the same as a 10 percent increase in pay. Contract work also offers more opportunities to slip a foot in the door at in-demand companies, or in specific roles that can help an employee make strides toward the mastery of new competencies. In that sense, freelancers can translate that flexibility into higher future earning power.
Reduced stress. Let’s face it: Many of us are over office life – or were just never hard-wired for it in the first place. In addition to removing the grind of the daily commute, many contract workers are finding an improved work experience with the ability to more easily unplug from office politics, fewer distractions, and the ability to avoid unpleasant engagements with mean bosses. Working at home with kids presents its own set of challenges, but the rewards of those interactions far outweigh anything most parents will find in the office.
Are you a working parent looking for more flexibility? Check out PeopleCaddie’s jobs board.