Contract vs Full-Time Technology Careers

If you feel like the workforce is changing before your eyes, it is not all in your imagination. While the professional world was once geared toward building a long-term relationship between employers and long-term employees, times have undeniably changed.

The recession of the late 2000s, which brought with it all kinds of relationship-compromising fallout, largely dissolved the sense of loyalty that was previously indelibly ingrained in workers. Add in the increasing advances in technology that allow for the unprecedented ability to work from home, or anywhere at all, and you have all the ingredients for a seismically shifting approach to earning a living.

The numbers show that many Canadians are reevaluating the way they choose to pursue their professional goals and earn an income. According to The Globe and Mail and pursuant to Statistics Canada’s survey results, around 1.9 million Canadians consider themselves self-employed while another 2.3 million workers hold the classification of temporary workers. Together, this combined professional population comprises roughly 21.5 percent of the Canadian workforce. Further, the contingent workforce is an especially largely growing phenomenon for technology and IT professionals.

Are you trying to choose the best path to follow between contract and full-time work in technology, as you launch your search for your next job? If so, keep reading to gather some key information to help you make the best choice for your professional future.

There are plenty of advantages to working full-time employee or as a contract worker. Take a moment to look at the advantages of each.

The Advantages of Full-Time  Employment

As many job seekers or career changers have likely worked in a full-time employment position before, many of the following advantages may seem familiar and comforting:

  • Earning a steady income with reliable benefits that may include health insurance and leave time.
  • Building strong and lasting relationships, based on trust and respect, with employers and fellow employees.
  • Having the chance to grow in the field of technology with the support of a company that may offer educational and advancement opportunities to help you keep up with the latest advances in the industry.

The Advantages of Contract Engagement

Contract engagement in the technology field is not necessarily a new concept, but it can seem daunting to those who have never experienced it before. Take a few moments to explore some of the many advantages when becoming part of the gig economy:

  • Earning a higher wage per hour than full-time IT employees do, thanks to not paying into various benefits like unemployment insurance and leave pay, per Edgelink.
  • Having the freedom to try new jobs with new companies since most contract positions last for 6 to 12 months.
  • Gaining new IT experience with each new contract and project, allowing for tech contractors to pick up new skills to add to their resume.


The Risks of Working as a Contractor

Risk is a part of any career choice, but working as a contractor does come with its own unique risks that include the following:

  • Working without Benefits. While earning a higher wage, a contractor does sacrifice the benefits that a full-time employee receives. Independent tech workers are fully responsible for their own insurance and making up for lost wages due to illness. Without sufficient savings, a single illness could prove dangerous-to-catastrophic for an independent IT professional.
  • Unpredictable IT Project Durations. There may be times when contract positions are only available for very short stints or exceedingly long durations. For various reasons, neither of these may fit within an IT contractor’s desired plans. Even worse, IT contractors may experience longer than anticipated gaps between projects, depending on their respective market’s needs.

The Perks You Miss Out on as a Contractor

One of the biggest downsides to working as an IT contractor is not being privy to the perks of a full-time employee. While some of those perks are official and tangible, like paid holidays, sick time and health benefits.

Other perks that contractors miss out on are often socially focused and involve not feeling like they fit into the corporate culture, or that they have trouble building camaraderie with coworkers, knowing that they will soon move on to a new project and organization.

What Looks Better on Your Resume: Contract or Full-Time?

Considering the fact that contract work is steadily gaining ground in the professional realm, it is not seen as a negative for most employers. In fact, the answer to this question is likely to come down to “it depends on what an organization needs.”

The quality of your IT experience, whether full-time or contract employment, is more important to prospective employers.

However, in spite of the flexible nature of contract work—and prospective employers' growing understanding  that IT contractors have reasonably complex work histories—there is a caveat to taking on a series of very short engagements that last around 3 months. A string of brief professional stints may make an applicant come across as unreliable, leaving a potential employer thinking that the contractor may have behavioural or personality traits that prevent them from staying with one assignment for the full term of an engagement.

Our team works with employers who need a variety of IT workers, including those who embrace contract assignments or full-time employment. We look forward to learning more about your experience and the terms of employment you prefer. Apply now!