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The Future of Employment

07 Oct 10:00 by Esme James

Connect Careers - The future of employment

According to the recent data release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of individuals working in temporary jobs and part-time contracts has risen from one in ten to one in three in the mere space of twenty-five years. Correspondingly, this collection documented one million individuals who now identified independent contracting as their main job; only ten years after the Independent Contractors Act 2006 endorsed this form of work a legitimate career path. The staggering magnitude of these numbers cannot be ignored. The immense and increasing popularity of contracting must demonstrate how well suited this form of employment is to our current cultural climate. 

It's no secret that the work force has changed dramatically over the course of the past half-century. We no longer want to remain bound to one office for the duration of our professional life. In fact, it is estimated that the average individual today will change jobs ten to fifteen times throughout their professional career, with 87% of young workers spending less than five years in each job. Stationary and invariable employment options no longer appear compatible with our world of constant change and unpredictability. 

So, what is it that makes contract employment favourable to an ever-growing number of individuals?

Control

Contract employment allows you to regain a much greater deal of autonomy back into your professional life. Not only does it allow you to decide who you work for and where you work from, but also when and how much you will work.

Additionally, it is commonly at your digression to decide how you will be paid, allowing you to make changes to the types of income you will earn and your method of receiving these payments. This can lead to a higher earning potential, as contractors may take advantage of tax deductions or gain greater compensation for work-related expenses. 

As a contractor, the power is placed into your court.

Flexibility

The openness of contract employment can be seen of immense benefit to the modern individual. By choosing the structure of your working hours, this form of employment allows for a far greater ability to balance work with other areas of your life: such as family life, personal projects, education, travel or even other contract jobs. 

As the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified, it has never been harder to balance one’s work and private life. It has become increasingly difficult for the modern individual to effectively spread their energies across the various areas of their lives. The demands upon us have never been higher, and without flexible time management, it becomes almost impossible to maintain our physical and mental wellbeing. 

We are now aware that a healthy work/life balance is linked to an overall reduction in stress levels, greater focus and job satisfaction, and improvement in physical and mental health. We should use this knowledge to inform our employment decisions, investigating contracting as a way to improve our holistic wellbeing and enjoyment of every aspect of our lives

Variability 

When you are working contracts typically as short as 3 to 6 months, you are constantly exposed to new working environments and positions. As a result, contractors often gain more skills than employees who are typically constrained in the variety of their working experiences. They may choose jobs based on a desire to improve certain areas of expertise, or unknowingly advance abilities as a result of the changing environment. 

This rich and constantly improving skillset consequently paints a positive picture of making contractors more employable, ensuring that they remain relevant in an ever-changing workforce. Switching jobs periodically not only helps the contractor grow but also helps to build their professional network, naturally opening themselves up to new career opportunities in the future. 

This makes contract employment a perfect fit for ambitious individuals. It removes the possibility of one feeling bored or constrained by a particular place of work, instead allowing them to grow personally and professionally. 

Freedom

While many dream of abandoning work-place politics, this is a contractors reality. There is no longer a need to worry about office/workplace-related issues, and only be involved in the meetings and work-functions that are relevant. The only thing that matters to the contractor is the output that they produce. This ensures that the contractor's energies can be solely placed on the work at hand, without creeping negatively into other areas of their lives. Work-related issues can finally be left in the workplace. 

In addition to the sense of freedom, it can lead to higher remuneration opportunities than permanent counterparts. As a contractor is typically paid on an hourly or daily basis, this ensures that they are rewarded for all the time that they put into doing a job. In this way, contractors can protect themselves from being overworked and assure that they are fully compensated for their time. 

 

Ultimately, there is a vast number of benefits that come from seeking contract employment. This career path is well-suit to an increasing amount of individuals, as its structure greatly reflects that of the fast-pace and ever-changing world in which we now live. Contract employment offers a far greater degree of control of one’s working environment, allowing the individual to choose their hours, place of work, pay and payment structure. Equally, it may allow us to balance the various areas of our lives with far greater coherence than was previously possible. The variety of environments and positions offer the opportunity to generate a far richer skill set, opening us up to previously unthought-of possibilities for our future. Finally, contract employment respects the freedom of the individual, liberating them from unnecessary workplace politics, allowing them to be judged purely for the outputs of their efforts. 

While contract employment may not be suited to everyone, the growing popularity of this career path suggests that it offers benefits and opportunities that are becoming increasingly valued. Depending upon one’s unique circumstances and accessible opportunities, contract employment can be more financially lucrative, offering a greater variety of experiences and ability to improve one’s holistic wellbeing. If these aspects are seen as favourable components in your professional life, it may be a profitable idea to join the 33% of Australian workers who have found contract employment as a highly agreeable career path.