BUILD YOUR CAREER A DIFFERENT WAY : MOVE from Permanent to Contract in Strategic Sourcing

August 7, 2013


Someone Who Made THE MOVE TO CONTRACT explains Its Benefits:

We recently interviewed a Strategic Sourcing professional who currently works in the Financial Services Sector as a senior Contractor for Argentus. He made the switch a couple of years ago from his permanent role to contract employment. In the interview, he talks about the immense career advantages that can arise from contract work and self-incorporation, as well as what companies stand to gain from hiring contractors.

Could you tell me a little bit about your background and what it is you do?

I work with the Strategic Sourcing group here at a well-known Canadian Financial Institution. My background is in Procurement for HR, Operations Management, and Strategic Sourcing.  I currently work within Strategic Sourcing to help manage the Professional Services category. I was working for another Financial Institution in a similar capacity before helping to manage various categories within the Professional Services category on a full-time, permanent basis.

At what point did you switch over into contract? Why did you decide to do so?

I switched over 2 years ago from Permanent to the Contract category. The reason I did so was because I felt that at that time in my permanent career I had reached a high level of subject matter expertise. I felt comfortable moving out on my own and working on my own on to provide those types of services to the other Financial Institutions on a contract basis.

Are you incorporated or a sole proprietor? Could you speak a bit about the benefits of incorporation or sole proprietorship?

I’m incorporated. With incorporation, there are certainly a few tax benefits as well as other benefits. As an incorporated contractor, I get to enjoy certain tax benefits that I wouldn’t have as a sole proprietor or full-time individual. In terms of income tax, I’m not taxed as much or as heavily as I would be if I was a permanent employee if I were making the same amount of money. I get to write off certain expenses that are related to the business such as travel, having a home office, etc. There are business-related expenses that you may still have as a full-time individual that you can’t write off if you’re a full a full time employee.

What do you think are the biggest advantages of working contract?

You’re working for yourself. Everybody’s a client. You don’t have a boss. You are your own boss, and that’s a different mentality. I enjoy that relationship. I enjoy the client/consultant relationship as opposed to the employee/employer relationship.

Another benefit of being on contract for me is that I get to experience a variety of different projects. From a Strategic Sourcing perspective, I’m given a lot of different responsibilities. I’m able to cover a lot of different areas that I wouldn’t normally get to cover if I was full time. I’ve been able to not only help the client I’m working for by being able to provide my experience and expertise. I’ve also been able to benefit myself. I’ve been able to touch on a bunch of different areas from contingent staffing program alignment to individual professional services RFPs to retail banking to wealth management projects. In a full time role you’d have your own category. But in contract, there’s an increased variety of work that you get.

The third thing is career progression. With the variety of work, I’ve gotten different experiences and different ways and knowledge and a different approach of how to build my resume. I’ve gotten to work with a different group of individuals that I wouldn’t get to work with normally.

So, not only does it help you build your expertise in areas you wouldn’t be working in otherwise, it broadens your network. And a broad network is the key to having continuous work as a contractor.

Just to flip it around: From your perspective, what are the benefits for companies hiring contractors?

There are a few. Companies get to try before they buy. That’s what they want to do. Hiring a contractor doesn’t hit their bottom line the same way as a full time employee. They don’t have the burden of an employee/employer relationship. Also, these individuals are highly skilled. If you work in a company that’s very project-based, then companies get to leverage experts in their field to come in and deal with a specific project, and they can leave at the end of it. So the client has the ability to run its model depending on its capacity. If its capacity is increasing and it’s very busy they can hire contractors to get through the projects, but if they need to run it lean they can.

What would you say to someone who’s still in the mindset that contract is just a stopgap on the way to permanent employment?

It depends on what your needs and your requirements are. You can look at it a couple ways. A lot of companies treat a contract as a “try before you buy.” A lot of companies will have you in for 6-12 months to start, and if you’re good they hire you full time. Some people see it as a stepping stone to permanent employment.

For myself, I’m more into the entrepreneurial angle. I’m looking to develop more of a consultative approach and to act in more of a consultative capacity for as long as I possibly can. And I prefer contracting to permanent work. That being said, everybody’s different and has different needs, intentions and goals and objectives, and contracting can satisfy a wide range of those.

Whether you want to give the consulting angle a shot, or you’re tired of your job and want to get into a different industry or a different company, it will allow you to do that too. It can be treated as a stopgap, or it can be treated as a really meaningful career move.

It’s definitely a NEW PERMANENT workforce @work! Call me to discuss how we can help you or your company with your Contingent Staffing Needs or if you are interested in exploring Contract opportunities or call me at 416-364-9919.

Alternatively, you might also want to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+

My electronic business card is – bookmark it, please

Over and Out for now


You might also enjoy these articles

6 Ways to Reap The Financial Benefits of Procurement Contract Work

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