Recently introduced IR35 rules - which sees many contractors paying tax and National Insurance in a similar way to permanent employees - have shone a spotlight on the world of contracting. Opportunities to travel, financial rewards, flexibility and the chance to work for some of the most progressive and well-known companies in the world are some of the benefits that are drawing candidates to a career in contracting.
Energy & Life Sciences opportunities
With one sector undergoing a green transition and one that is growing exponentially, there has never been a better time to enter the energy or life sciences sectors as a contractor. And, while the energy sector typically attracts a slightly older contractor who may have employment experience before branching out on their own, many younger candidates are attracted to the life sciences sector by the opportunities offered by the current skills shortage and the chance to work in a dynamic industry where they can make a real difference.
Never was that ability to contribute to society more apparent than with the onset of the COVID pandemic. Within weeks of the true scale of the pandemic becoming apparent the global life Sciences sector was uniting to throw its combined weight behind efforts to develop new treatments and vaccines to combat COVID-19. With that came investment, and yet more interesting opportunities for skilled candidates.
Flexibility is king
Although contracting has often been viewed as a risky career path, the new breed of young contractors are turning that assumption on its head. Taking advantage of strong demand in the energy and life sciences sectors, contractors are revelling in the flexibility offered, with many working on a project basis before moving on to the next exciting opportunity. In making these bold choices, they are gaining invaluable experience - often working for multinationals - supercharging their CVs by focusing in on the skills they wish to hone.
Many report that, while this fast paced approach keeps work varied and interesting, it is also giving their careers a boost. It is common to see people moving between sectors or to ever-better roles. In the process, contractor professionals are able to transfer engineering, project management or communication skills from the energy sector over to life sciences, for example, while not getting tied down to long term commitments.
An added attraction for the career contractor is that this air of flexibility offers countless opportunities to take career breaks or sabbaticals, while also making it easier to plan breaks to suit family life.
The Bottom Line
Those with an appetite for adventure are often drawn to a career in contracting, too. Many move country with each new opportunity, experiencing new cultures and learning new languages as well as gaining valuable life experience along the way.
Despite the rich and varied experiences that a contractor can enjoy as they move from project to project, there are increasingly few material differences to how they are treated by multinationals compared to their permanent team members. Indeed, the financial rewards on offer for a successful contractor can be eye watering. And, with a plethora of exciting opportunities for candidates currently available, job security is rarely - if ever - a worry.
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