Contract-based jobs are generally thought of as temporary work. And, generally speaking, that is correct. The difference is that a lot of times, jobs that are originally contracted can parlay themselves into full-time positions. Whether or not contract jobs are a positive step for Canada, and the economy as a whole, however, is still debatable. Let’s look at a few facts.
The Case For Contract Jobs
These jobs have a lot of positives. In no particular order, they are:
- Flexibility – hours, days of work, total time frame, etc. These types of jobs are perfect for seniors, high-school students working the summer, moms or dads who don’t want to commit to full-time work outside the home, etc.
- A “foot in the door” – As stated, contract jobs often give an employer an opportunity to see the future would-be employee in action prior to signing on the dotted line. This can work both ways, however assuming the employee is a good one, it’s definitely a benefit.
While these are far from all of the benefits, they are definitely a start; probably the most desirable of the pros. Certain professions, say for example like being a paralegal, are well-suited for contract work. Also, with the relative ease of accomplishing the required training, this career may be well-suited for those that may not want to commit to full-time work but would like to earn a decent amount of money on a more part-time, or contract, basis.
The Case Against Contract Jobs
As with all things, the pros do not come without cons. The knocks on these types of jobs are also fairly easy to point out. We will attempt to articulate them below:
- The pay is generally poorer and there are often no benefits. Employers have more freedom with these types of jobs which can, in some circumstances, drive down the compensation and they rarely are offered benefits for their work during the contract.
- Very limited security. While flexibility may be a benefit for the employee, it’s also a benefit for the employer. If an employer doesn’t want to renew the contract, they don’t have to. One minute you can have a nice job, the next you may be out looking again. This type of inconsistency makes it difficult to carve out a true career as a contract-for-hire only employee.
The legal field is actually a great example of contract work. While paralegals literally work on contracts a lot of the time, a lawyer is another fairly good example. Contracts with lawyers are more along the lines of billable hours, but the premise remains the same; you pay when you use them, and don’t when you don’t.
While there are some similarities, there are obvious differences. Lawyers, for example, are very well-compensated for their work. After spending a chunk of their life in law school, fledgling lawyers may not be able to find work right away, but on a contract or temporary basis, they can still make a good living. With billable hours into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars, these professionals definitely aren’t going hungry, even though their profession is experiencing some difficulty.