Going Freelance: Is The Contracting Life For You?


If you’re thinking about your next step after uni, you’ll probably be thinking about in-house, permanent roles. For the majority of graduates, these positions offer the stability, employee benefits, support and training they need to get a foot on the career ladder. Yet, for some graduates, contracting work suits their lifestyles and their skill-sets much better.


From IT to Engineering, contracting offers significant benefits and perks. There are, of course, risks – and greater responsibilities – yet, for the right person, a contracting lifestyle can be the perfect fit. In this article we’ll be exploring why a graduate might opt for a contractor’s career, who contracting roles are suitable for, and whether or not a contracting life is right for you.

First Things First…What’s in it for You?

There are a lot of perks to contracting. You make the decisions, you drive your career – ultimately you have total control over where you go, what you do and how you work. There’s also a financial incentive. Contractors often take home a bigger pay packet than their in-house counterparts.

The freedom of contracting is also not to be overlooked – with the right skills and the right sort of drive, you can work anywhere in the world. Certain skills are always in demand, allowing you to travel far and wide, making money all the while!

That fabled spice of life, variety, is also enjoyed by contractors. Contracts are typically short, so you’ll be hopping from job to job and place to place, as regularly as 6-monthly. On top of all these benefits, you’ll also find that your tax can be significantly reduced. Taking the right advice from the right professionals will allow you to maximize your earnings in a way that conventional employees simply can’t.

OK, so What about the Downsides?

There are a few downsides to be aware of. There is significantly less job security – if you don’t stay at the top of your game, you could find yourself languishing in unemployment. There’s also less in the way of support – you’ll receive zero employee benefits – no sick pay, no maternity leave, no paid holiday, and no training. On top of this, you’ll have to handle the administrative side of your contracting – you’ll be self-employed, which means an awful lot of paperwork and accounts to deal with. For the right person, though, this is all worth it!

Is Contracting Right for You?

If you have drive, a sense of adventure and relish adapting to new circumstances, contracting is almost certainly a good path for you to go down. You’ll need the ambition to keep chasing the right roles and the organizational skills to keep track of your accounts, yet you’ll also enjoy freedom, variety and challenge a-plenty.

There are some skills and roles more suited to contractors than others. Sectors like IT, Oil and Gas, Security, Aviation, Medicine, Finance and Law include many opportunities for the right contractors. The trick to finding your gap in the market is insider industry knowledge. A good agent or representative will help you sniff out the opportunities you want and get you into the position you need. Et voila! You’re contracting!


Andrew writes for the Professional Representation Network, a start-to-finish support service for contractors across the globe. With close links to over 400 recruiters, they find the best roles for your skills first and offer you priority consideration too. Alongside this service, they also offer advice, guidance and assistance in all areas, from taxation to personal representation.

photo credit: Brent Nelson via photopin cc

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