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Contract Vs Permanent Reality Check

Posted on
November 29, 2016

As Financial Services Recruitment Consultants working within Compliance, Risk & Finance in both the contract and permanent markets, one of the biggest issues that we face with our candidates is the reality check they must face when entering the world of permanent employment after years of contracting. Of course, this is not a new issue, but in recent times it seems to have become more poignant.

Let’s talk about the long and arduous (or not?) way of becoming a happy permanent employee. We are all aware of the various advantages of contracting within Financial Services, or contracting in general; substantially higher rates of pay and more flexibility to name but a couple. However, permanent work offers financial security, career progression and often a comprehensive benefits package. The transformation to the permanent market can be tough, and people need to first weigh up the pros and cons. Let’s see below:

However, people need to be realistic when making the transformation from a contractor to a permanent employee. One of the biggest issues we find in today’s market are long term contractors with highly unrealistic permanent salary expectations. I fully understand that contractors may become accustomed to the high level of income they are receiving, but they simply cannot expect to receive that same remuneration on a permanent basis. Contractors, on average, earn 50-75% more than their equivalent permanent salary, and this needs to be taken into consideration when making the transition. Obviously other things like bonus, pension contributions, healthcare etc all must come into the equation as well. If you are unsure, before stating your desired salary expectations in an interview scenario it may be a good idea to speak to a specialist recruiter in your industry to find out about average salaries for your profession/location, or speak to some of your colleagues who may be doing the same role but on a permanent basis. People of course may not want to disclose their exact package details but they could certainly point you in the right ballpark.

On a different note, we have also noticed a shift towards the “temp-to-perm” candidate that is often a “win win” scenario for both employers and employees alike. It affords both parties the ability to “try before you buy” where both sides can test the technical, cultural and personal fit to the role. This situation wouldn’t suit someone already in a permanent role, but for the purpose of getting back into permanent work after contracting, it could be ideal.

Once you have made your decision and you are confident it is the right move for you, stay open minded and think to the long term. It may be different and hard at the beginning, but with time you will see the benefits. Perhaps you have already taken these steps and wish to share your findings and experience? Or simply if you are interested in hearing more about the market and want to know more, we would love to hear from you.

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This BWD Census is designed to be the definitive reference guide to salaries, earnings, and benefits in the UK financial services sector.

It is carried out entirely independently of any FS employer and embraces Advisers, BDMs, Paraplanners, and Compliance Professionals. Information was gathered from over 550 individuals via an online, confidential questionnaire issued in December 2021 and January 2022.                       

BWD Salary and Benefits Census
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