Contingent Labor includes several different types of workers including Temporary Contractors, Consultants, Independent Contractors, Gig Workers, or Freelancers. Sometimes these roles catch a little bit of flack because they might not be considered “permanent” employees. That’s a common misconception; many contingent engagements last for years, and you can most certainly still get the full-time hours and benefits that people are often claiming you would not receive. Look past the cynical views of others and check out a few reasons why contingent labor might be right for you.
If you enjoy the idea of working several jobs you can have a lot of flexibility through contingent labor. Say you already work a 9-5 and want some extra cash. Independent contractors can log onto their computers during off-hours and get to work on a project. As a Freelancer, the client establishes a Statement of Work indicating project completion requirements and dates, and it is then up to the freelancer as to how to complete a project. It’s estimated that at the height of COVID nearly 60% of contingent workers also had “permanent” employment.
Another take on the flexibility that can be offered, is that of having multiple roles at the same time, with multiple companies, with breaks in between. Each job can be chosen based on the new skills and credentials that you want to develop. You can do this through a staffing agency, which offers the convenience of finding each engagement, or as an independent contractor.
Others turn to contingent work as a way to stay in the workforce while balancing demands of child or elder care. And, contingent engagements lend themselves to those who want to experience living in different parts of the country and the world.
Lastly, you can work with a multitude of different employers and find what you enjoy doing most while building new skills and credentials with each engagement. This is wonderful for your resume and figuring out what it is that brings you the most passion in your career. It can be a way of getting started in your career, taking on a series of temporary engagements in order to build the experiences and credentials needed to land a “permanent” position with a desired employer or to launch your own business. These roles make you more marketable for your next opportunity, no matter what that may be.
The time is now for employers to attract the needed talent and that means that you, the candidate, has an advantage when negotiating something very important: Benefits. In an effort to attract scare talent companies are now enhancing their benefits. One current example of this is with the well-known search engine company, Google. According to a WorldatWork.com article, “Google recently announced that it is increasing its parental leave program and offering more vacation days to its employees in 2022.” This is to combat employee burnout and improve retention. Yes, the worker must qualify, but there is something to be said about this change in today’s job market. If a powerful company like Google is improving their benefits during this time, it is extremely likely that other companies will follow in their footsteps.
Today’s labor market has changed. With nearly 40% of Americans engaged in temporary work, benefits can no longer just be offered to “permanent” employees. In one of our most recent blogs, we touched on the topic of why companies need to rethink the provision of benefits to temporary workers. When competing for talent, the most successful companies are going beyond salaries to offer additional desirable benefits that workers can take advantage of. Health insurance, PTO, retirement savings plans, dental insurance, life insurance, vision insurance, perks, flexible work schedules, remote options, employee discounts, paid parental leave, company meals or snacks, PTO for volunteering, and so much more. These benefits demonstrate that the company values its workers and that matters more than some realize.
When negotiating your next position, discuss benefits. If you merely ask, “what benefits do you offer” you will most likely be given a brochure. Ask about specific benefits that matter to you, and ways in which their benefits packages set that company apart as an employer. Don’t forget the critically important non-financial benefits such as flexible work hours, or time off during the work week for personal errands such as medical appointments. If you have specific requirements, raise them at this point and determine the Company’s willingness and ability to accommodate you. Keep in mind, if you are accepting a contingent position with an agency, you are eligible for the benefits offered by the agency – not by the end client. And if you are a freelancer or independent contractor you are not eligible for benefits at all.