Industry Insight

Pros + Cons of Temporary vs. Permanent Positions in Tech

In the tech industry, more frequently than any other field, contract positions are more often the norm than the exception. Candidates often prefer 6-12 months of working on a specific project before moving on to a different role with a different employer.

Permanent roles, however, are still often sought after, and can offer greater stability and benefits than their contract counterparts. When searching for the right position in tech, here are a few pros and cons to weigh when considering roles in each category.

Temporary and Contract Positions

Pros – There are a few reasons why contract positions are popular in tech – one of them being better hourly pay rates. They also offer greater flexibility to travel and take vacation time in between positions. Complete a 6-month project and want to take off for a month to Mexico? Contract work makes that much more possible than a permanent position where you may only accrue two weeks of vacation a year. Temporary positions also offer greater diversity as far as the type of work candidates will perform, as each role offers the opportunity to work on different projects.

Cons – The downside to temporary work is the lack of consistency. It may take longer than desired (or planned) to secure the next position, which could mean an unwanted employment gap. Contract positions also make accounting for taxes a bit more complicated as well since, in many cases, that responsibility lies solely on the candidate. Another con is that roles often don’t last long enough to grow professionally or take advantage of benefits offered for career development.

Full-time, Permanent Positions

Pros – On the flip side, full-time, permanent positions offer their own set of benefits – the most important being stability. In addition to job security, there’s also the opportunity to develop deeper, synergistic relationships with co-workers and the ability to secure promotions or take advantage of career development benefits. Although permanent positions often offer lower pay per hour than contract or temporary gigs, they typically come with benefits like health insurance, 401k options, life insurance, or paid vacation.

Cons – Those benefits do come at a cost though. Permanent positions don’t offer as much flexibility for vacation time as contract positions (you can probably forget that month in Mexico) and less professional diversity. Candidates as well are often relegated to the same cycle of duties each day in full-time positions.

No matter which path you pursue, it’s good to keep an open mind to both options – contract and temporary positions or full-time work. Everyone has different preferences based on their priorities, skill sets, even their lifestyles. And, keep in mind, those preferences may change over time.

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