Contracting - getting a foot in the door

02.17.2012


Job seekers who want to take advantage of the current labor market might consider contracting work.
Job seekers who want to take advantage of the current labor market might consider contracting work.

Job seekers looking to take advantage of opportunities presented by employment agencies in our current labor market might consider working as contractors instead of looking for a permanent position.

Many employers are wary of filling their company's positions with full time employees since it means risking a significant amount of time, energy and money. A lot of them are hiring contractors in the interim, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The shifting hiring demographic can be illustrated by statistics related to temporary positions, which have surged 48,000 over the last three months, Forbes reports. This pace of hiring represented a 7.2 percent year-over-year increase.

Temporary staffing was particularly robust in January, resulting in companies adding 20,000 positions of this nature, according to the media outlet. Citi analyst James Samford wrote in a note to investors that temp positions account for 1.82 percent of the U.S. workforce, up from its rate of 1.34 percent during the worst part of the Great Recession.

A Labor Department report indicated that 243,000 jobs were created in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent from its previous level of 8.6 percent. Private and business services was responsible for creating 70,000 of these positions, and this industry is one of the most likely to hire workers on a temporary basis, the media outlet reports.

Market experts have predicted that the economic recovery will accelerate in the next few months, and this more robust growth could cause unemployment to drop to as low as 7.8 percent, according to the news source. Samford says that if employers are not completely convinced of the strength of the recovery, it might move them to hire contractors before taking on any full-time workers.

One major draw of working for a company as a contractor is the ability to prove oneself and therefore land a full-time role, according to U.S. News and World Report. Working as a contractor enables the person to work with the right people who can potentially help them get a full-time position when one becomes available.

Compensation is another factor that makes working as a contractor more appealing, according to the news source. Contractors can make more per hour than they would as salaried employees. Even if a person works as a contractor for only a few months, getting paid higher rates can help him to increase cash flow.

People who want to make the most of contracting opportunities should be sure to follow certain steps. First of all, they should realize that a contractor position is a great way to network, the media outlet reports. A contractor should focus on developing relationships with key decision makers, who can provide recommendations and potentially full-time work in the future. Contractors should make sure they know what the expectations are for their projects, and make sure to perform beyond what their client wants.