did you know

Eight percent of the U.S. labor force is comprised of on-demand workers who sign on for projects lasting weeks to months. Some experts predict contract jobs will grab an ever-increasing share of the job market in years to come.

wise words we heard

“I gave up a big paycheck and a big staff and a big organization. I gained freedom to manage my business as I see fit, time with my family, and the time to watch my kids develop.” 
- Jake, an independent consultant describing his custom fit.

Contract and on demand work can be a great way to create a custom fit. In the current job market there are, admittedly, a large number of workers who would prefer to have more stable long-term employment. But there is also a large segment of the population that chooses contract work, and it’s to that group that our advice is geared. For this group, contract work has proven resilient in a tough market and coveted to make a flexible work-life fit at different points in the life course. Contract and on-demand workers include people seeking a balanced life, retirees seeking a challenge and income, and workers seeking a test-drive before jumping back into a staff position. At its best, this type of work offers great promise to both the employee and employing organization.

Advice for Employers

  • Consider staffing help. Because of the growing popularity of contract work, more and more agencies exist to make matches.
  • Look in your own backyard. One woman looked to her neighbor, a stay-at-home mom with a background in banking, for help when work got too busy. The mom at the park or the retiree you bump into at the store just might have the skills you need and the time to help.
  • Stretch your thinking. Carefully consider whether a job must be performed full-time and on-site or whether it can be performed on a part-time, project basis.
  • Don’t omit top jobs. Especially if an executive is needed for a strategic reason or to lead a temporary project, contracting may make more business sense.

Advice for Workers

  • Weigh the pros and cons. Contract work likely means you won’t get benefits, paid time off, a regular paycheck, or the other advantages staff workers get. But it will bring you flexibility, a level of control over your professional life, and an opportunity to try out a new area or company before committing to a full-time job.
  • Be aware. If you go through an agency, vet the companies carefully and be aware of the costs and terms.