Why do professionals become contractors?

2017-06-06T00:52:38Z (GMT) by McKeown, Tui
Despite identification as an increasingly important component within the changing world of work, very little is known about the professional contract workforce. This paper presents results from preliminary research into the reasons why professionals' become contractors. Reasons and explanations were sought from both individual Professional Contractors and from Contracting Agency representatives. The resulting interview data were examined in terms of voluntary versus involuntary as well as 'pull' versus 'push' factors. In addition, individual contracting arrangements were measured by a tool specifically developed for this research project - the Continuum of Contracting Independence. Overall, the results indicate that, except for occupations such as IT and engineering, the professionals' move into contracting is involuntarily. Explanations centred on the 'push' factors of redundancy, family commitments and a lack of career options. Furthermore, contracting emerges as a dynamic arrangement. The Continuum of Contracting Independence revealed movement both between contracting and other work arrangements as well as individual movement within the arrangement of contracting. The findings have important implications for both the individual professionals' and for the clients that use their services.

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