Graduating from university is a significant milestone in the lives of many young people. It marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one filled with possibilities and opportunities. Generally, the next step is often to find a job in their field of expertise or associated degree achieved. Many may consider graduate programs or placements in order to build experience in their desired industry, but what many graduates don’t realize is that contracting can offer significant advantages to young professionals.
Working as a contractor offers several benefits, including the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and gain experience across various industries and sectors by working on a project basis. This enables them to diversify their portfolio and build a wide range of skills that can make them more marketable in the future.
Over the last decade, we have continued to see an increase in contracting across multiple industries, and particularly an increase in young graduates and professionals considering it as a career choice. In this blog, we highlight the industries which opportunities are currently booming for graduates and young professionals, and we highlight the benefits they can avail of as contractors as they begin their new chapter and career!
Why choose a career in contracting?
Flexibility and Work Life Balance:
A career in contracting allows for more control over your schedule and workload. This means you can choose projects that fit your lifestyle, set a work schedule which suits your needs and also decide when to take a break from contracting, or take time off as needed without worrying about holiday days.
Given you have more control over your schedule and workload, this can result in a better quality of life outside of work and reduce stress and burnout. In addition, being able to work from home or choose your own workspace can also contribute to a better work-life balance. This can allow you to pursue personal interests, and hobbies, or spend more time with family and friends.
Ultimately, having a better work-life balance can improve your overall well-being and make you more productive and satisfied.
One of the benefits of a career in contracting is the variety of work that is available to you. As a contractor, you have the opportunity to work on a range of projects across different industries and sectors, giving you exposure to different work environments, teams, and challenges. This variety of experience can help you gain valuable skills and knowledge, expand your skill set, and become a more well-rounded professional in your field.
Higher earning potential:
As a contractor, you have the ability to negotiate your pay rate for each project you take on. This gives you the opportunity to set your own rates and potentially earn higher compensation for your work.
Additionally, contractors are often paid higher rates than full-time employees due to their specialized skills and expertise. Contracting can provide a chance to work on high-profile projects that offer higher pay rates than traditional employment options. This higher earning potential can allow for greater financial stability and provide opportunities for professional growth and investment.
As a contractor, you will work with various clients, colleagues, and stakeholders in different industries and sectors. This provides a unique opportunity to build a diverse network of contacts, which can be incredibly valuable for your professional development and future job opportunities. Through your work, you can meet people who are experts in their field, who can share their knowledge and experience with you, and who you can learn from.
Additionally, building strong relationships with clients and colleagues can lead to repeat work, referrals, and recommendations, all of which can help you grow your business and advance your career. Whether it's attending industry events or simply striking up a conversation with a client or colleague, networking as a contractor can be an excellent way to make valuable connections and expand your professional network.
As a contractor, you have the opportunity to work on various projects with different clients, which can expose you to new industries, technologies, and work environments. This can help you develop new skills, learn new techniques, and gain experience in different areas of your field.
By developing new skills and gaining experience in different areas, you can become a more versatile professional in your field. This can make you more attractive to potential clients and open new career opportunities that you may not have otherwise had access to.
Independence - embrace your entrepreneurial spirit:
As a contractor, you have more autonomy and independence in your work. You can work from home or choose your own workspace, and you have the freedom to set your routine and work on your own terms. Contracting can offer graduates the opportunity to explore self-employment at their own pace, so why not become your own boss and continue to discover this those entrepreneurial skills developed from college!
So, what’s not to love about contracting after reading the benefits it can offer! For any graduates finishing their course and on the job hunt, we highlighted the popular and in demand roles below that you should keep an eye out for in your industry of choice!
IT and technology Graduates:
As IT contractors, they are primarily responsible for developing and maintaining software applications, managing databases, and providing support to the vast amount of tech companies across Ireland. This involves working on complex projects that require a high level of expertise in programming languages, database management tools, and other technical skills.
IT contractors must stay up to date with the latest technological advancements and trends to provide their clients with the most efficient and effective solutions. Given the fresh knowledge and perspective that graduates can offer to companies, it has created high demand for them, with companies willing to pay top dollar for IT contractors who can assist them in developing and maintaining their systems.
For upcoming graduates, contract software developers, including full-stack, front-end, back-end, and mobile app developers, are in high demand, and often work on specific projects or to augment their existing development teams. The demand for AI and ML specialists continues to grow. Companies seek graduates or contractors such as AI engineers, ML researchers, and data scientists who can develop and deploy AI/ML models and algorithms.
Finally, with the increasing emphasis on cloud migration and cybersecurity for companies, graduates should be on the radar for roles such as cloud engineers and architects, security analysts, ethical hackers, cybersecurity consultants, and incident response specialists.
In Ireland, there is a demand for various engineering graduates across different sectors; the demand can vary depending on industry needs, infrastructure projects, and emerging technologies. Hiring the engineers of our future appeals to Irish companies as they are well-suited to take on various contracting roles that require problem-solving and technical expertise. Currently, graduate software engineers are sought after for their programming and development skills, mechanical engineers are in demand for their expertise in designing, analyzing, and manufacturing mechanical systems and components. With the increasing adoption of automation and robotics technologies, contract engineers with expertise in this field are sought after. Similarly, with an increasing demand for development in sustainability, environmental engineers are in demand for their expertise in managing environmental issues and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
Aside from engineering roles themselves, many graduates with engineering knowledge or business backgrounds may enter careers in project management or project coordination, to oversee and manage engineering projects.
Pharma and MedTech Graduates
Many years prior to Covid-19, we did see the Pharma and MedTech industry begin to boom for contractors, however, the growth and demand for contractors was expedited since the beginning of 2020 given the demand for vaccine production and research requirements. For young professionals, they can work in R&D and clinical research departments, where they contribute to the development of new drugs, medical devices, and technologies. They may conduct research, design experiments, analyze data, and contribute to the scientific knowledge base. Other roles highly in demand in the industry are in quality assurance and regulatory affairs departments, ensuring that pharmaceutical products and medical devices comply with applicable regulations and standards.
Business and management Graduates:
Business and management graduates are highly sought after in the contracting world as they possess a wide range of skills that can benefit various organisations. They are typically well-versed in marketing, human resources, finance, and management, and companies are often willing to pay top rates for contractors who can help them improve their business processes and strategies.
Marketing contractors, for instance, work closely with companies to develop marketing strategies and campaigns that are tailored to their unique needs. This includes conducting market research, developing and managing brands, creating advertising materials, and managing social media accounts. With their expertise in the newest marketing trends, young professionals can help companies effectively promote their products and services and increase their market share.
As highlighted in this article, many different graduates and young professionals can become contractors following obtaining their college degrees. IT and technology graduates, engineering graduates, pharma, business and management graduates, are just a few examples. The key is to identify your skills and strengths and find a contracting role that is suitable for your expertise.
For more specific information on becoming a contractor or for more advice why not contact one of our team members today? We work with the first-time contractors across all of Ireland’s professional sectors and can be sure to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible when you are starting your professional career!