Contract Employees Gain Foothold on Career Ladder: Many contractors enhance their professions and their personal satisfaction, finds MRINetwork®
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Philadelphia, PA -- In the last eight years, Stephanie has had four jobs, two of which she landed since the recession began. She is not a job-hopper, though - she's a professional contract staffer. In three of her four assignments, Stephanie was placed by Westport One, an affiliate of MRINetwork®,www.mrinetwork.com, one of the world's largest search, recruitment, and professional staffing organizations. Her experience, says Debbie Maul, manager of contract staffing at Westport One, is typical for many of the two million temporary workers across the country.
"Stephanie began as a contractor at Frito-Lay® in 2003 and was converted to a permanent position, where she worked for three years," says Maul. "She came back to us in 2006 and we placed her on a long-term contract at Panera Bread®, which lasted ten months." Following that stint, Stephanie found a permanent position on her own, but when she was downsized, she returned to Westport One and was placed on a contract at TALX/Equifax®. After six months, she was hired as a permanent employee, a position she still holds."
"Taking the contractor route was the best thing that could have happened to my career," Stephanie believes. "I accepted a contract assignment because I was out of work and I didn't have any other options, but the benefits to me personally and professionally have been enormous. I increased my earning power, and I was able to go back to school and get my BA in communications."
"Most contract employees have very positive views of their contract work experiences," says Tim Ozier, director of contract staffing at MRINetwork. "Their temporary assignments can give them exposure to an array of responsibilities and companies, often while earning more competitive starting salaries than they would in permanent positions. The growing demand for contract employees has also led to improvements in contract-employment terms. Most professional assignments now range from three months to two years, and many staffing companies give contractors access to benefits, including healthcare and retirement plans, once thought to be out of reach to contract workers."
These improvements have made it possible for some people to choose contract work on a permanent basis for lifestyle reasons. "Although bridging to a permanent job is often the goal of many contractors, others are attracted by flexible work time, choice of assignments and having more time for family," observes Maul. "Those who fall into this group are known to turn down an offer of permanent employment in favor of contracting."
Bob is one such employee. "I backed into contract employment after I was downsized," he says. "The recruiter I was working with suggested that I take a temporary assignment. I didn't have to move, the work was challenging, and the pay and benefits were equal to what I had in my previous job. That was three years ago, and I am now on my fourth contract assignment. I don't think I would convert to permanent now even if it was offered to me."
Contracting is ideal for people who are reentering the workforce, seeking flexibility, or, for whatever reason, don't want to make a long-term commitment to an employer, Ozier points out.
Regardless of their reasons for working as temporary or contract employees, most contractors agree that their experience makes them more employable. "I developed new skills on the job and strengthened my resume," says Stephanie. "I also gained self-confidence with the awareness that I had a lot to offer my employer."
Management Recruiters International, Inc., branded as MRINetwork (www.mrinetwork.com), is one of the largest executive search and recruitment organizations in the world. A subsidiary of CDI Corp. (NYSE:CDI), a global provider of engineering & information technology outsourcing solutions and professional staffing, the MRINetwork has 800 franchised offices in more than 40 countries.