It pays to be a contractor

When weighing up the pros and cons of contracting versus full-time employment, the theme song to Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, ‘For the Love of Money’ may understandably get stuck on constant repeat in your head.

Well, Randstad’s latest employer branding research may just help tip that scale in favour of contracting, just that little bit further. According to Randstad, Australian full-time workers are being short-changed approximately $71.2 billion in unpaid hours per year.

Australian full-time employees are working, on average, 42.25 hours per week. 4.25 hours more than the 38 week they are supposed to work and not being paid a cent in overtime.

Figures like these support the shift that so many Aussie workers are making from full-time employment to contracting or freelancing. And why wouldn’t they? Not only are contractors generally paid a higher rate, most contractors are paid by the hour; submitting a weekly invoice and paid for every hour they work.

In addition to the monetary loss experienced by Australian employees, Randstad’s research also highlights the low work-life balance amongst Aussie employees. A factor which is becoming more and more critical to workers.

The employer branding research revealed 49% of workers cite good work-life balance as one of their top five factors when considering a potential new employer. No surprises here. Coincidentally, work-life balance is one of the key drivers of Aussie workers moving into contracting.

Working arrangements that leave workers feeling like their personal time is respected are likely to be more engaged, productive and have a better sense of job satisfaction than those that don’t. However, many Australian employers are still missing the mark, with Australian employees ranking their employers work-life balance at ninth place on Randstad’s list of Australia’s employer branding rankings.

But we must remain objective. Not all workers want a better balance between their professional and family life. Do they? Randstad Australia’s CEO, Frank Ribuot, summed it up nicely. “Baby boomers approaching retirement age may want the right mix of flexible working conditions. Generation X, many of whom are parents, may consider working less hours during school holidays, key to improving their work-life balance. Younger generations may be willing to work longer hours in the lead up to taking extended leave or a sabbatical.”

Hmm…enough said 🙂