It’s been a great year for hiring, particularly in Technology, HR, Marketing, and Sales. The boom in hiring has also seen an uptick in contracting as folks with specialized talents see opportunity for higher rates and in some cases, more flexibility and fixed hours. Meanwhile those concerned about healthcare and stability due to the pandemic and 2020 are even less swayed to leaving a permanent position. 


Zac Colip, VP of Tech Practice and Ryan Brown, Director of HR Practice discuss the pros and cons of both options. Depending on where you are in life and what’s most important to you, there’s some great perks to both contracting and perm. 

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Talent Insights show. This is exciting. We have Colip going to be joining us today to talk about the pros and cons of contractors.

Zac is a leader on our technology practice, so let’s bring Zac in and he and I are going to chat a little bit today. Hey Zac. Hey guys. How’s it going? Going great. How are you doing? Great! How are you? Doing well, doing well. I’m impressed, Ryan. You’re real tech Wiz with this whole operate then. I mean, at this point, you might as well place me with one of our clients, right?

Like my tech skills are top tier. They’re up there. That was top notch. Top notch, I know. I’m really good at what I do. But anyway, let’s get started here on this episode of the talent insights. Zac and I have been brainstorming a little bit. We both place a high number of contractors with our clients. Zac obviously on the tech side, for me on the HR side and we started talking about what are the pros and cons of contracting? And for some folks that aren’t familiar with it, contracting is essentially consulting where you might work with a firm like Hirewell and we essentially loan you out to one of our clients or there’s some folks that do this

independently as well. And these can be short-term engagements. They can be long-term engagements, ranging in timeline and that sort of thing. But Zac and I just want to talk about like the pros and cons of contracting and why some folks may choose to do it and why it might not be the right choice for others.

So Zac, why don’t you just talk to us a little bit about the pros of contracting? Yeah, I spend a lot of time on the phone with people. Some people are very inclined to doing contracting. Many are definitely very much against it. I think it’s just a lot of unknown out there for the most part, but you know, there’s a lot of benefits to working a contract position. For one thing, I think in today’s world, working 40 hours a week and having that set is pretty nice.

A lot of jobs out there have you working like 60 hours plus or you’re at home working and you just don’t know when to stop. But when you’re billing hourly you know exactly when to stop. So there’s a nice benefit to that. Spend a little bit more time with the family also, oftentimes with contracting this isn’t always the case, but you usually make a little bit more money,

right. And so that money depending on how much you can work into it can usually cover the benefits that you possibly give up in the long run. And then you end up making more money for working fewer hours in most times. Also there’s like a lot quicker of a process of getting through like the interview process.

Usually it’s like one to two steps and quicker decisions. There’s also an option to set up your own LLC, which is your own company essentially. Then you can put your expenses through on that. You can set up your own benefits with that as well, set up your own 401k. So there’s like a lot of options, to go, especially if you make contracting a long-term goal.

Yeah, exactly. I think one thing too that some folks maybe don’t realize is there’s like a ton of flexibility that comes with contracting. And what I mean by that is you have the opportunity to kind of pick and choose where you want to work and when. Some folks maybe only want to take on assignments that are three months and then take a break or six months and take a break.

Or maybe there are certain industries that they really enjoy working with. You know, they have the opportunity to kind of pick and choose when they join organizations like that. And to kind of segueway off of that as well, a lot of variety of that comes with that too. You’re working with new hiring managers, new organizations, you’re getting a lot of exposure into new cultures.

So there’s a good amount of decision-making that is really in the candidates onus when it comes to contracting Yeah and I think there’s oftentimes like a negative connotation with contractors that maybe they’re like second class citizens since they’re not perm. So obviously whenever you’re going through the interview process, I highly recommend vetting that out a little bit.

Working with recruiting companies, like Hirewell can often give you the inside look if companies have previous experience placing people there. Yeah, exactly. What about some of the cons? So like obviously we have just listed off a ton of pros and there’s more to that list than we probably have time to cover today, but what are some of the cons that maybe make folks decide

“Oh, contracting is not for me”? Yeah. So oftentimes contractors aren’t included on the benefits. I think that’s the biggest sticking point for sure. There are a lot of contract positions that do offer benefits on top of it though. So definitely worth looking at the whole picture there. But yeah, I mean lack of benefits, lack of paid time off are the big ones I would say.

When I’m thinking about cons to contracting, as we can never ensure that a contract will run the entire length that we think it will. So those can sometimes end pretty abruptly. In most cases, organizations try to give two weeks notice but you could think you’re going into a six month long engagement and maybe funding’s lost and it ends at three.

So that can be one of the cons as well. Yeah. Another thing is sometimes companies are less inclined to invest in you by like offering certifications or further education just because they would want you to be an FTE in order to make that investment. Yeah, there’s a little bit less influence I would say too. Like the impacts that you’re having on the business, depending on the level, right

that you’re coming in at could be a little less than if you were a full-time employee, because the time that you have to really impact change is just going to be more minimal. Yeah, but on the flip side too, I do see a lot of times where they’re looking to bring in some subject matter experts that can come in and make a big impact in six months to a year and then let that person go because maybe they’re very expensive.

Yeah. I think that between the list of pros and cons, it can kind of flip flop depending on the variety and differences in contracts and the level somebody is coming in at. So it can be I think a really interesting thought process and it’s pretty personal to people too, to decide whether or not it’s right for them.

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I actually did a poll last week on this just to kind of get a consensus of what people on my LinkedIn were thinking about this. And I did ask the question a little bit more leaning towards like probably contracting is good. The question was, would you consider a contract position if it meant significantly higher compensation, but no benefits?

And the response actually came back a little bit surprising to me. Only 56% said no, benefits are too important. And then 44% said, yes, show me the money. Yeah, interesting. Yeah, I know. I thought that was a- I thought it was going to come back closer to like 70% saying no. Yeah.

Yeah. True. Well, I think one of the things we’re recognizing too is contracting can be an option for anybody at any stage in their career. So folks that are maybe younger can stay on their family’s benefits or even maybe their partner has great benefits and they’re on theirs. That gives them a lot more options in terms of deciding whether or not

they can take the money or need the benefits. Yeah. And I think we’re in this like odd time of two and a half years into a pandemic, right? And so benefits are on the top of everybody’s mind. So I think some of the responses I got back were like, “Hey, if I have a family and I need to have a hospital visit, that’s going to offset” and a thing I can’t do if I don’t have benefits. So I get it. And I think there’s situations, there’s benefits out there that you can get yourself set up with with a contracting position to

make yourself be just fine in those situations. But a lot of people did respond well to the higher compensation and we’re really reaching out and saying, “Hey, show me the money.” Hey, I hear him on that for sure. There’s a lot of options for folks. Well, if contracting is something anyone’s interested in learning a bit more about, reach out to Zac, to myself. I’m sure we

both have a ton going on in the contract side. So we may even have some opportunities to share with you, but even if you’re just interested to learn how contracting opportunities are and you know, the pros and cons of those, we’d be happy to walk you through them. All right. Thanks for having me guys.

Thanks for joining Zac. See ya!

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