The drawbacks of full-time employment

3rd April 2017

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With the self-employed set to represent 50% of the UK workforce by 2020, full-time employment is becoming it seems less desirable for people. We are now seeing many people shape their own destiny and begin their own exciting journey and become their own bosses. A scary thought no? The idea of cutting loose both that structure, routine and security you once had to venture into the unknown is a road that many surprisingly want to embark upon. Why could this be? As we’re now seeing a host of people enjoy and advocate the many benefits and perks that self-employment can offer, are we starting to see full time-employment painted in a negative light in contrast to self-employment.

Where self-employment garnered criticism in the past for the lack of security it offers, there now seems to be a role reversal. Although some might regard full-time employment as full of plus points, what exactly are the downsides to it that would lead someone to take the leap to self-employed?

Overworked and underpaid

Speaking to full-time employees, you’re bound to find a number of people who go that extra mile in their everyday work but often don’t get the immediate financial recognition in return. With more full-time employees investing in that extra hour or two at work outside their core hours, or taking their work home with them perhaps, they are doing this with no real benefit to themselves. With most feeling almost wedded to their full-time job, it’s almost as if they feel indebted to their current employer that they put in this extra work. Their focus is on the long term; a promotion, perhaps a small pay rise or to ultimately earn a satisfactory performance review, as after all, they want to keep their job.

With employers not obliged to pay for overtime from their employees, this puts full-time employees in a lose-lose situation. Many full-time employees will question why they should put in those extra hours at work and receive the same pay packet at the end of the month with no reflective reward for their extra efforts.

Working for yourself as a freelancer or contractor means you’ll get paid for the work you do. With yourself as your own boss, you can set your own terms and charge an hourly or project rate to ensure your pay packet mirrors the work you do.

No flexibility

Flexible working is something that is gathering momentum in the work place. When looking at full-time employment, a number of companies are starting to recognise the value of allowing flexibility for their employees. However do approach this piece of news with caution as the case for flexibility isn’t always a cast iron guarantee in some places of work. The laws surrounding flexible working are laced with procedure and you may have to jump some hurdles to attain this status. Most importantly you’ll have had to work at your place of work for at least 26 weeks before you can even raise this as a discussion point.

Working as your own boss, particularly within an in-demand skill set, gives you the authority to be as flexible as you need to be in your approach to work; hours, location, holidays, etc, and doesn’t need to be reviewed or approved by a higher figure.

Variety is the spice of work

Working as a full-time employee of course has its benefits in career progression and many employees will see themselves climb the corporate ladder after a couple of  years. All well and good but for those keen to widen their skill set, full-time employment does not always offer the same type of personal progression as self-employment might. Some organisations’ will have a very regimented culture where job descriptions and work structures are defined in black and white. This leaves no room for employees to test themselves and come out of their comfort zone and adopt new skills.

Working as a freelancer or contractor, no day is ever the same and the work you do will open you up to a variety of projects that demand varying skills and expertise.

Career Stagnation

Full-time employment offers workers a layer of security. Safe in the knowledge they know where their next pay cheque is coming and safe they know their work will not throw them unexpected challenges but instead a routine structure they know inside out. Of course this is comforting for many and there’s of course nothing wrong with people wanting to go down this path. However long term, this approach is not a desirable one for those wishing to better themselves.

Those wanting to take the easy and safe route will most certainly run the risk of career stagnation. Working the same routine over and over again without any room for development, they will soon tire of this way of life but will struggle to break free of this habit. With their reliance on the world they know, the world outside of their 9 to 5 bubble may become alien to them and any job hunting activity will prove unsuccessful as their experience and CV shows no ambition and desire to be challenged.

Where there was a time where the status quo demanded employees work for an organisation for a long period of time, today’s workforce have teared up that blueprint. Today’s most inspiring professionals are living on the edge and challenging themselves constantly and embracing new ways of working and approaching new projects with exciting goals. The self-employed workforce form a large percentage of these determined professionals.

Show me the money

We’ve previously touched upon the lack of financial reward for a full-time employee despite showing good intent and the willingness to work hard. Another pitfall for the full-time employed in comparison to the growing self-employed population is again financial benefits.

In the case of self-employed, their unique tax status allows them to accrue more net pay than an employee. The tax model of self-employed workers gives them a huge financial advantage and makes this line of work far more appealing than any full-time employment.

Working full-time and seeing others around you work to the same intensity (maybe even less!) and within the same industry and earn more is evidence enough that freelance and contracting offers a better way of life compared to full-time employment.

Why not cast off the 9 to 5 shackles and be one of the 50% making up the self-employed workforce by 2020. Begin your contracting journey today and pre-register for iContract, the new online platform launching soon that connects contractors with recruiters and allows contractors to take better control of their working lives.

Sign up for free here.