When you work as an IT professional, you often have numerous opportunities for full-time positions and short-term contract jobs, and choosing between the two can feel like a challenge. Both approaches to employment are feasible, allowing a person to have a secure living and progress through their career. Which path is right for you is ultimately a personal choice and should be based on your priorities and preferences. To help you determine which course is right for you, here are some tips for evaluating your options.
Included Job Duties
Two positions, one permanent and one contract, can have the same functional job title but differing job duties. This means you can’t judge which option is right for you by only looking at the surface. In the majority of cases, short-term workers are brought on for a specific purpose. This means their work is focused on their core competencies and duties outside of that area will be light or non-existent. For people who prefer to concentrate on a particular specialty may find contract positions are ideal.
Full-time employees are likely to have a more diverse workload. Along with duties associated with their primary skills, they generally have responsibilities that fall elsewhere as well. For example, many tech workers are expected to provide some level of technical support to other employees even if they don’t formally belong to the help desk. These jobs allow for a broader work experience, which can be the best option for people who prefer variety in their assigned tasks.
Benefits and Retirement
The vast majority of permanent, full-time positions are going to come with a standard benefits package. Often, this provides employees with access to healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. Since these are built into the total compensation being offered, it is a great option for people who prefer not to manage these accounts on their own. Additionally, it can add a feeling of security knowing these points are handled for you.
Contract workers typically have access to limited, if any, employer-provided benefits. For longer assignments, temporary employees may have access to some paid time off, but other benefits like retirement and health insurance aren’t generally offered. This leaves those responsibilities squarely in the hands of the contractor. In some cases, this can allow you to seek out less expensive options or choose programs that better meet your needs and preferences, but the work of finding these plans is yours to manage.
Environment and Culture
In many cases, you can’t fully assess a workplace until you start in the role, so it can feel a bit like rolling the dice when you accept a position. Normally, full-time employees are somewhat stuck in whatever environment they land in, as making another job change quickly might not be feasible. That means if you end up in a job you can barely tolerate, you’re going to have to stick it out for a while. However, if you find a place you love, then you are set as long as you perform to their standards.
Contract workers have a bit more flexibility if they land in a less than desirable workplace. Since they know they are only there for a short time, it can be easier to tolerate a poor environmental or cultural fit. It also may be simpler for them to just leave a bad workplace, depending on how they arrange their careers. However, if the company is a great place to work, short-term employees may not have the option of staying, which can be disheartening if the next position doesn’t offer the same feel.
Ultimately, the decision regarding which career path to take is yours. Just consider your priorities and look for opportunities that fit those preferences. And, remember, the option you choose today doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind down the road. So, if you decide to work full-time now and it doesn’t meet your needs, you can always look for contract positions your next time around.
If you would like more information about full-time or contract employment opportunities, the skilled team at MindFinders can assist with your search. Schedule some time to discuss your goals with one of our recruiters and see what may be available in your field today.
Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.