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Contractors or full-time employees?

Updated on August 8, 2012


The use of contractors instead of full time employees is an employment option that is growing in popularity.

More and more, a significant percentage of the ‘work’ that gets done in organisations has a short-term or ‘project’ focus to it.

As an example, you can probably identify a variety of needs in your own organisation that require urgent attention, and which would occupy a capable person for a few months – but no more.

More and more people (as employees) are coming to this realisation themselves.

In some cases it might be due to their job role being made redundant (laid off) with both sides agreeing that the employee did a great job while they were there. In other cases it could be down to poor economic times or substantially different skill sets being required at different stages in the organisations existence.

Whatever the reason, many of us can agree that ‘work’ is becoming more outcome focused, and short-term in nature.

Perhaps for all these reasons, a growing number of job seekers are prepared to commence employment on a fixed term basis (contract), and then if both sides are happy, move to full-time employment status.

The Options

If you’re an employer that hasn’t explored this option before, here are just some of the potential benefits:

Firstly, contracting offers you the “try before you buy” benefit.

In simple terms, you may not be 100% convinced through your hiring process that the preferred candidate will perform to your expectations. There’s nothing like seeing a new employee in action first, before you commit to a long-term future with them.

Secondly, it may suit your business planning a little better. Your business may be growing, but you’re not certain this new growth is sustainable. At the very least, you might like to see a few more months of increased revenue before you’re comfortable with another full-time employee.

Thirdly and just as importantly, it’s an opportunity for the employee to trial your business to determine if it’s really what they want and where they want to be. It’s better for them to announce they don’t want to progress past their contract term (eg: 6 months), than leave you at a time when it really inconveniences you.

And let’s not forget the emotional and real effort that might be invested in training and development, only for them to leave in a few months telling you they never really enjoyed the role.

Contracting – consider adding it to your employment options.


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