May 10, 2011

Time to consider contract opportunities as a worthy alternative career choice for senior Procurement personnel?

More and more companies are staffing for their more strategic roles in Strategic Sourcing by hiring the knowledge they need on contract rather than permanently. The new business landscape is moving rapidly towards hiring highly skilled, extremely focused procurement professionals for shorter periods to give them the expertise they require on an as needed basis.  Much the same as the IT world embraced contracting some twenty years ago, staff augmentation in Procurement is certainly here to stay. Very senior and juicy roles for extremely lucrative six month to eighteen months assignments are available with increasing frequency. So, here’s the question, would you put off a permanent job search or leave a role you were dissatisfied with to commit to a contract role where you could make your yearly compensation in six to eight months, and get better work life balance and be a the leading bleeding edge of Strategic Sourcing initiatives?

Here’s what Nancy Basso, Senior Manager Contract Management & Special Projects IT Vendor Management and one of the senior candidates who we represent for contract opportunities, had to say to us very succinctly on this hot topic:

Having worked in one company for over a decade and although I learned and grew in that organization, I found that looking back at my career, the “most” or fastest personal growth or when the “experiences” (i.e. industries, people, processes, systems, etc.) were at its highest, was when I was moving from company to company within short timeframes. However, recruiters may frown upon a full-time employee who moves from company to company often…in addition, it gets challenging when compensation packages are based on long term stay… but as a contractor, one can have the ability to move with no negative connotations while adding to the “database”. Hence the reason I see being a contractor is so beneficial to personal growth is through this diverse exposure of experiences. I completely understand that everyone’s needs/objectives are different and contract work may not be a career alternative for everyone in the long-run due to the stability aspect (financial as well as environmental) or lack thereof. But I believe with the proper planning and attitude, why not? Why not the contract world as a career choice?

As a contractor, one gets exposure to different industries, people, processes, systems, methodologies, organizational culture, skill sets, and management styles and yes, even the politics that every organization has. This “database” of diverse experiences, I believe is what makes a contractor invaluable, as a contractor can draw on these experiences to ensure the best of the best is applied to task at hand/current assignment. Many see contract work as a stop gap until a full time opportunity presents itself because as a contractor one may have lulls in his/her assignments. But being a “permanent” contractor, I believe is advantageous as one is (a) constantly growing with each new experience/assignment; (b) growing one’s network of people; and (c) if there is a lull in assignments…relish it, as it allows one to spend the time balancing their life with family, friends or even traveling….things that are sometimes difficult or challenging to properly accomplish if you are full-time

and the hours are long. So yes, as I stated previously, I would absolutely consider contract opportunities as an alternative career choice and not just a stop gap while waiting for permanent full time!


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