Whether you’re a longtime contract worker, a new college graduate just embarking on your career, or an experienced professional considering freelance work for the first time, there are plenty of reasons to take stock of the current contractor market. The pandemic has prompted tectonic shifts in the overall job economy, and that has produced an undeniable ripple effect that can be expected to influence contractor workflow throughout the year – and likely beyond.
With those circumstances in mind, PeopleCaddie recently conducted a survey of accounting contractors as a sort of litmus test of the current freelance market in at least one sector. Our goal: Target professionals who have completed at least one contract assignment with a public accounting firm within the past three years in an effort to determine any important patterns or developing trends that contractors should consider in the near future. Here is a sample of the survey findings:
Contract lengths may vary – widely. The typical contract duration cited by survey respondents was 4-6 months, but the actual range freelancers can find in the gig market extends well beyond on both sides. One or two-month contracts are not uncommon. On the other end, some contracts can cover two years, while certain freelance gigs may extend indefinitely. Ask around to get a feel for options in your industry, and near the end of each contract be sure to think about your preferred commitment level and current willingness to consider other contract lengths.
Don’t dread the specter of down time. The transient nature of contractor workflow and limited opportunities within some sectors – or at least the perception of them – likely scared off some would-be freelancers in the past. A failure to find consistent employment is one of the biggest fears of all employees. But 81 percent of PeopleCaddie survey respondents felt that finding contract work was easy. More than 3 out of 4 workers surveyed (76 percent) said they found their most recent freelance assignment in less than a month, and 60 percent of that group said they had multiple opportunities from which to choose. Be proactive, but don’t fear gaps between gigs. There’s lots of work out there.
Employers are paying up. Especially in today’s job market, in which companies are struggling to build back their workforce to pre-pandemic levels or just keep up with current business, employers have no choice but to adjust to the demands of labor. And for contract workers in particular, the opportunities for a financial shot in the arm are golden. According to our PeopleCaddie survey, 76 percent of respondents who left a full-time position to become a contractor were able to immediately boost their income. The most common increase was in the 20–39 percent range, compared to a respondents’ last permanent job.
Freelancers, above all, are happy. As you might have guessed after learning a bit more about the current contract labor market, a huge majority of those participating in it feel good about that choice. An overwhelming 89 percent of survey respondents expressed satisfaction with their decision to contract, and when asked what they found most fulfilling about freelancing, they cited flexibility, increased pay and reduced stress – in that order. All that and a happier professional existence? That’s what it’s all about.
PeopleCaddie can help keep contractors busy by becoming part of our talent cloud. Find out how by contacting us here.