Decision time for the New Year - Contract or Permanent positions - Which will you pursue?

Sam Turner 02.12.2015

Are you thinking about the New Year in terms of your career path? Is your current contract role coming to an end in quarter one of 2016? Is your current permanent position moving in the right direction?

Whether you’re in a contract role and ready to move permanent or vice versa there has got to be more than one reason to force a change. Be that your personal, financial, professional or general circumstances you must weigh up the pros and cons. Before you do that, let’s go through some of the actions you can take to make sure you’re in the best position possible on the job market looking towards quarter 1 of next year. It is always important to be proactive rather than reactive when pursuing a new role – if you do a little research and network with the right people ahead of time you should find yourself in a good position when the time comes to job hunt or move on from your current role.

Research your market

Rhis can vary but as a recruitment consultant working within banking there is one stand out example, which is regulation. If you’re not already aware of which regulations are hot for the upcoming year then do your research, talk to your colleagues and read up online as to which regulatory requirement will drive the hiring for change in banks moving forwards. Regulation is constantly changing (along with its close off date) so you should always be up to speed on this.

*Quick tip for regulations that will drive the hiring of 2016 – FRTB (Fundamental Review of the Trading Book) and MIFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive).*

Speak to your recruiter, if you don’t have one then get one

Your recruiter meets and speaks to candidates and clients across the industry ever day of the week, which gives us the broadest knowledge of what the trends are in the market. We know who is hiring, we know for what positions and what skillsets are in demand. Not only that, but we know who is not hiring and cutting headcount so as to not let you waste your time pursuing a particular bank you have some interest in. The most essential part of our knowledge allows us to be blunt – we can tell you if you have a high, low or no chance of landing a position. We are measured on hit rate; we aim to provide the perfect match to our clients and will only represent you if we think you have a chance of filling the position.

Update your CV with your latest piece of work/project delivery

This is something that will apply to contract candidates more than permanent candidates, simply because it’s more of a speed game. If you do not have your CV ready to go for a recruiter then that contract will get snapped up by someone else. You need to be prepared for a phone call that could have a recruiter on the other end of the line with your dream job and a probable pay increase. Don’t be lazy, keep it up to date!

Update your LinkedIn and remain active

It’s important to keep an eye on LinkedIn by following certain organisations, certain market update pages and getting involved in job market forums. If something is trending in your industry you should be up to date on it.
 

Contract to Permanent

Pros:

Pathway to a career

You can have a clear view on where your career is headed and set some milestones for yourself in terms of where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc.

Be a part of something bigger

There is a sense of belonging when you work in a team that is united and focused on the same goal. You achieve your goal and move onto the next objective. You work for a large part of your life and for the majority – people want that time to be with people they enjoy being around and who are like-minded in the way they approach their work. You will get this in a permanent role, for the most part.

Bonuses

The bonus factor in a permanent position can be extremely lucrative and will be based on a yearly performance (in most cases) so you can dictate how much you deserve by performing at your best for the year. There are no bonuses in contracting.
 

Cons:

Making the Transition

You will need to be able to mentally handle the difference in working style that comes with this transition and sometimes (depending on the type of person) it doesn’t always work out. Execution, speed and culture would be examples of differences. This is something you should be aware of.

Politics

When you move from contract to permanent positions you will have to worry a bit more about politics that go on behind the scenes of an organisation. This is something that people can hate or like to get involved in but for the majority it is something that is nice to stay away from. Be aware that this will creep into your everyday life a bit more once you make the transition.
 

Permanent to Contract

Pros:

Variety

The ability to work on a variety of projects and different books of work can be very beneficial to your career in the long run. It also reduces the risk of boredom when it comes to your role responsibilities.

Flexibility

Contracting allows candidates to leave with a notice period as short as 1 week. You can keep an eye on the market and move onto opportunities elsewhere in a very short turnover time. (Note: It is recommended to have long stints of experience on your CV and not just many short stints – but the option is there.)

Monetary Value

The rates in the world of contracting are very attractive, you can make a lot more money in contracting than you can in a permanent position. But remember – it depends on what your priorities are.
 

Cons:

Insecurity

Contract roles can be pulled from beneath you at the drop of a hat. Budgets, Programmes, certain positions can be taken away in a very short time. This could be due to reorganisation/restructuring within an organisation.

Restricted Progression

This can be due to a ceiling of promotion put in place for contractors. When you come to a certain stage in life and your personal priorities change you may want to get a promotion, receive certain benefits i.e. pension, healthcare, bonus, etc but this cannot be achieved in a contract role.

Longevity

Be careful how long you stay in contracting as many clients will relay how they do not like to hire people who have been contractors for a long time. They find it hard to believe how someone can transition to a permanent role and not want to go back into the world of contracting; instilling a sense of worry that you will leave them again once another contract role comes knocking.

Sam Turner's picture
Principal Consultant
sturner@morganmckinley.com

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