Contract vs Permanent - The Age Old Debate - Part Two

Rhys Jenkins, Resourcing Specialist at PMC talks about the age old debate, this time arguing for being permanent.

At PMC our recruitment team speak to IT professionals working either as permanent employees or contractors on a daily basis within the retail sector. We have also helped some make the transition from permanent over to contracting and vice versa. Our recruitment team are often surprised by the number of retailers choosing to rely heavily on contract resource within their IT departments, as opposed to making permanent hires to fulfil requirements / on-board the necessary skills and resource to complete projects. The reality of the situation is that with the economy continuing to perform and prosper in the UK, good candidates be it permanent or contract will have options as to where they chose to work. There is no one size fits all approach to this, but you may be asking which option is best for you, in this article we’ll fight the corner of the permanent employee.

Why Permanent?

  • Invariably the top answer as to why an in demand candidate would elect to be permanently employed is stability, most people have a mortgage to pay and a family to feed, and thus the regularity of knowing you’re getting paid can’t be underestimated.
  • Then there’s the benefits to consider, as a permanent employee you are likely to receive things like: holiday pay, sick pay, pension contribution amongst other benefits you won’t receive in the contract market.
  • Often in permanent employment there is a more defined career progression path whereas in contract typically you’re brought in for a period of time to do a specific job.
  • Location stability is also worth considering, typically in permanent employment you will go to the same location to fulfil your role on a daily basis (I appreciate this is not always the case!) typically the contract market requires you to be more flexible around location.
  • In this day and age loyalty comes at a premium with candidates increasingly more likely to switch employers, being able to demonstrate a long period of permanent loyalty is likely to serve you well in the long run, even if in the future you move into contracting.
  • Avoiding contract lull’s and the application process should be considered when thinking about whether or not to leave permanent employment. Some contractors are lucky enough to have that long contract agreed and will have agreed their next one prior to the end of an existing contract, but this is not always the case. Contracting can involve jumping between 3-6 month contracts, finding yourself constantly applying, speaking to recruiters and interviewing, which can become stressful.
  • Permanent employment is less admin intensive, you know you’re getting paid every month and don’t have to worry about filling in/getting time sheets signed, chasing payments or being on top of your own tax liability.

What Now?

There isn’t a right answer as to which is right in general as it’s entirely dependent on your personal situation. Overall the permanent vs contract argument could also be summarised as stability vs opportunity, evidently there are pros and cons of each. If you’re working within retail IT arena we’d be happy to informally discuss any of the above in relation to your situation.

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