Contractors drawn by better pay, job variety and freedom, iContract study finds

10th October 2016

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Professionals are drawn to the world of contracting predominantly by the opportunity to earn more money, according to our first study into contractor culture.


The perceived freedom of the contracting lifestyle and the potential to work on a variety of projects were also key draws, our study found. Career progression and, in particular, escaping the trappings of nine-to-five work were not influential factors in taking the contracting route.


We quizzed nearly 100 contractors, predominantly from London’s Financial Services, IT and Legal sectors, to learn about what drew them to contracting and how they manage their working life.


How contractors find work

Sourcing work is the biggest challenge for more than two-thirds (67%) of contractors. For more than a fifth (21%), dealing with recruiters was cited as their main challenge, while building their personal network was the toughest challenge for 12%.


There is a fairly even spread over where contractors like to find work. LinkedIn is narrowly preferred to using recruiters, while existing contacts and online job boards were a close third and fourth. Using other social media channels to source opportunities lagged way behind.


Contractors are not worried about Brexit

Brexit is currently not a great concern for the majority contractors. It could be because it’s too early to tell, but the majority who answered expressed that the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union was neither a positive or negative thing for contractors (71%).


The remaining 29% were equally divided over whether Brexit would have a positive or negative effect on contracting in their sector.


Contractors prefer long-term contracts

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of recruiters typically find themselves working contracts of between 6-12 months or longer than 12 months. Just 3% typically work less than three months in any one contract.


When it comes to preference, 28% would like a contract longer than 12 months, while the current number actually working year-plus contracts is nearly half that (15%).    

The same number (48%) of those working between 6-12 months in any one contract said that was the right contract length for them.


Around a quarter (24%) would prefer to work 3-6 month contracts and less than three months was not popular at all.

Contractors make the most of their free time

Nearly one-third (30%) of contractors take between four to eight weeks’ holiday each year, despite time off not being a key driver to contracting.


Just less than a half (47%) take between two and four weeks off, while 12% take more than eight weeks off! Check out our podcast with travelling contractor Kieran Munro on his exciting work-life balance.


“It’s interesting to see that the prospect of improved money, freedom and variety are the key pull factors over push factors, such as escaping the nine-to-five,” commented iContract CEO and co-founder Amanda Cai. “Contractors clearly prefer a longer contract, and when iContract goes live users will be able to search according to the contract length that they prefer, as well as the location, day rate, and other factors that are important to them.”


iContract goes live soon and we’re looking to improve the way contractors and recruiters work together, so be sure to pre-register now.