Full-Time vs. Contract Work: Which Path Is Right for You?

As you plan your next career move, is your best option a full-time role or contact work? Both have pros and cons – but what it all comes down to is making the decision that works best for you and fits your lifestyle.

The Differences Between Full-Time and Contract Work

What Full-Time Looks Like

Full-time employees (FTEs) work a set number of hours in exchange for a predetermined wage or salary. In the United States, this amounts to at least 130 hours per month or an average of 30 per week. Generally, being an FTE means putting most of your working time and energy into your one job. The advantages include:

  • Job security: This comes with greater financial stability, as you don’t have to worry about acquiring work on an ongoing basis.
  • Better benefits: FTEs generally have the option to receive various benefits in addition to their salary, including health and life insurance and retirement plans. Most FTEs also receive a set number of paid vacation days, as well as paid holidays, and parental and sick leave.
  • Social Security: As an FTE, you only contribute half the cost of SS and Medicare; your employer covers the other 50 percent.
  • A fixed schedule: For planning purposes, as an FTE you will usually work fixed hours each workday.

It’s not all roses, though. The potential downsides of full-time work include:

  • Stagnation: For some, the routine of working the same full-time job can become boring or monotonous.
  • A more limited resume: If you work the same full-time job for several years, your resume may be limited to the responsibilities and tasks that come with that position. When you do start searching for a new job, this can make things more difficult.
  • Lack of control over your work: Often, FTEs have less choice over when and where they work than contract employees have.

What Contract Work Looks Like

Contract workers do specific tasks and jobs for employers for a predefined period. If they have specialized knowledge, they can earn more than FTEs as they charge higher rates. They may work for multiple clients simultaneously.

Among the plusses of contract work are:

  • Flexibility: As a contract worker, you get to set your own. You generally don’t have to work a specific schedule, as long as you meet deadlines and customer demand.
  • The ability to pick and choose projects: You have greater control over the work you do, so you can turn down assignments that don’t meet your needs or pique your interest.

And among the disadvantages:

  • Less stability: Contact workers may have to navigate changing work landscapes more frequently than FTEs.
  • Fewer – or no – employee benefits.
  • Higher tax bills: Contract workers must pay their own self-employment taxes.
  • More business expenses: Work-related costs like tools and travel are typically the responsibility of contract workers, whereas companies usually absorb these expenses for FTEs.

Is Full-Time or Contract Work Right for You?

Launch your search for the right full-time or contact opportunity in accounting, finance, engineering or IT. Contact one of the experienced industry recruiters at Venteon today.

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