Day#348: Contracts vs Permanent employment

Day#348: Contracts vs Permanent employment

Hey researches today I wanted to discuss the concept of contract versus permanent employment before I start, I wanted to explain a little bit of my story to set the tone of where I am coming from. Firstly I have always worked permanent, apart from two roles which were unpaid internships. I also did lots of informal jobs like waitressing and bartending at a variety of places. When I took a job recently the role was advertised as a permanent role, but then when I read the contract it indicated it was actually a two year contract. This is not the current place that I am working at, but I share it because these are all points you need to be aware of when accepting an offer. Companies are desperate to get resources on board, and somethings ethics takes a back seat because of it. 

When I took this position at Nedbank through Strider Tech it was the first contract I had ever accepted. The interview process was rather easy going, there were technical questions however I am inclined to think that the ease of placing someone lies in the actual contract role. Simply because it is easier to get rid of a contract employee. I still think the South African market needs a lot of educating in relation to interviewing for UX related roles but having an employee on a contract helps. There are still disadvantages to letting someone go even though you may not need to worry about warnings etc. or at least to my knowledge you still have to consider retraining someone new to fulfill that role. And in industries like software development that can take ages to train someone to understand the ins and outs of a company. I think I viewed contracts very differently growing up, the culture was certainly more around having a secure position which you as the employee could stay in for long periods of time and slowly go up the ladder. However times have changed so drastically, in certain industries companies struggle to find permanent staff because resources have now seen the better opportunities that come with contract work. From the perspective of being a contractor you have higher pay, potentially better hours, if a company has a specific budget. This can both be an advantage or a disadvantage given my situation though it means I don’t often work over time and that over time is also not expected from contractors. The concept of having a better salary is still up to you, and perhaps the industry that you are in. For example if you don’t negotiate a salary that is representative of the risk you are taking as opposed to working for a full time company then that is your own actions to blame. Yes a company can refuse to pay you relating to your value but it also depends on the saturation of the industry and how desperate you are at that point to take the job or not. 

I have also noticed some interesting models that companies like IQ Business do, so they hire people full time and then send them out to sit at companies. They charge companies the going rate for a contractor and reap the full rewards because the resource is simply being paid a monthly salary. I have also noticed IQ running almost like an internship program, this allows them to have resources placed in corporate environments and billing clients, where as the interns are earning extremely low salaries. I think these decisions are easier to make when you have experience and time on your side, if I was straight out of college I probably would have taken a job with IQ with the grad program for example. However now later in life, I think the inability to have control of the types of projects you could work on is not my style for my career. Because I want to specialize and consider my time a direct investment into the future, if I spend it doing wireframes for 6 months that will be a total waste and will probably frustrate me as well. 

In conclusion I think either could be a win and either could be a bad experience, I have been lucky to have a great contract experience and have just signed on for another year through Strider Tech with Nedbank. From the companies perspective it allows for employees to be on their toes, because your contract could potentially not be renewed for the next year, however I don’t think a lot of people think that because they start to just get used to the lifestyle and assume they will be renewed. I think being a contractor also feels like you are not as ingrained in the culture and politics that may exist in an organisation and from a researcher’s perspective that is just fine. You don’t want to start letting hierarchy and confirmation bias affects your ability to conduct sound research because you are now apart of the team. That is not to say that researchers who are directly apart of teams can’t conduct sound research, I just think they may need to focus on their hypotheses carefully and ensure it is not governing the research findings. Anyway happy researching until next time 

Bye for now

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