Job security is gone. Retirement is a dream. The sky is falling!
Except it's not. The professional landscape has changed, and it's still in flux. But that doesn't mean we're in for doom and gloom--but it does mean we need to better understand what's happening and how to adapt.
Long careers at a single company are a thing of the past, but for some people that provides a lucrative opportunity: skilled contract and consulting work.
Just think: flexible schedules, remote work on tropical islands, and incomes that double or triple what people made in full-time roles. It's a dream come true!
Except it's not that, either. Consulting work can be fulfilling, flexible, and interesting--but every contract that's offered is different. Working with a trusted recruiter is the best way to sort through the options and choose a good fit for your lifestyle--and at Greythorn, we're happy to help you do that.
But if you're not ready to talk to us, that's okay. To give you a good foundation, we've compiled five questions you should ask when evaluating a consulting contract.
1. How much are you going to be paid?
You don't need us to tell you to ask this question. Obviously, it's important, but here are a few reasons you may not have considered. Did you know some contracts require you to work more than 40 hours a week? It's not uncommon, and your compensation should reflect the hours you put in. You'll also need your number to be high enough to pay taxes and for health insurance if you're responsible for those items.
2. Are you going to get benefits?
Some contracts offer benefits, others don't (you can see the stats in our market reports). As referenced in the last point, health insurance premiums are expensive--so if you're offered a consulting position with a slightly lower hourly rate but health insurance is included, it might still be the best offer on the table. Find out how much you'd be spending if you paid for benefits out of pocket... you might be surprised by how much of a difference it makes.
3. Are perks included in the contract?
Some of Greythorn's LIVESite consultants are placed in contract roles that require them to temporarily relocate to another part of the country. In many of these cases, their contracts include corporate housing and transportation. Consultants are also reimbursed for their food up to a pre-determined dollar amount. When these costs are factored into the entire compensation package, it makes a big difference in determining if the contract is worth your while.
4. What are the odds of you being re-hired?
No matter how well a consulting gig goes, there is no guarantee of future contracts unless you're on a "bench." This might be a concern--but if you're interested in continuing the consulting lifestyle, it's ultimately up to you to "shop" your skill set to enough agencies to ensure you have another project lined up with your current one ends. Some companies go out of their way to re-hire good consultants for future projects, so creating a good impression on the agency and end client makes it more likely you can work with them again. It's a smart move to build strong relationships with at least a few quality recruiters.
5. Who's responsible for expenses?
Often, if you're considering a "W2" contract, the recruitment agency (and therefore, the end client) is responsible for all expenses incurred. But don't make assumptions--this doesn't happen all of the time. For instance, you may see rates listed as "all inclusive," which means you will be paid a higher-than-market rate for your skill set because you are responsible for paying your own expenses. Either way, it's important to have an active credit card with at least a $5,000 line of credit. You may be asked to pay for items like airfare up front, to be expensed to and reimbursed by the agency up to 30 days later.
Have more questions?
Check out what we provide to consultants who work with us, browse the jobs we have available, or email us to be put in touch with a recruiter who can help you launch your consulting career in healthcare IT or open source and big data.