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Engineers should never rule out contract jobs

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As a contract/temp recruiter, I live in fear of those dreaded words “Perm only!” So many of the candidates I speak to outright refuse to consider temporary roles, preferring to stick with the stability that comes with having a single employer than the ‘risk’ of going alone.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider contracting, particularly as an Engineer. When you break it down, there are plenty of advantages to working as a contractor. Personally I have had candidates who started as contractors for the first time last year and have never looked back! So for the “Perm only” people, here is an insight into why you really should consider contracting as well as permanent roles when searching for work in the Engineering industry.

Job variety

As a contractor, you will typically work 3-12 month contracts at a time. This means you’re not tied down to one job and can get experience from many different companies across the industry. Take, for example, the Pharmaceutical industry. If you decide to take up contracting, you could work at 3-4 different top pharma companies over a period of 3 years.

That variety of experience looks great on your CV, as it demonstrates that you can work with different types of equipment, different leadership structures and can adapt to new procedures. Doing this as a contractor means you can gain experience without being tarred with the ‘job hopping’ brush – as a contractor you’re supposed to move between companies!

Be your own boss

When you are contracting, you are technically working for yourself. You choose when you want to work and when you don’t! You have the freedom to plan time off in between contracts without relying on others being available to cover or worrying about a truckload of work building up while you’re away.

Grow your network

In the Engineering sector, it is good to have a broad network – the more connections you have the more opportunities you get to work on great projects. It’s a huge sector in Ireland with lots of really exciting pharmaceutical/medical device/biotech companies – the more of which you work for, the more opportunity you get to work for the others. As a contractor you can move between the very best companies and work with the very best people, growing your network and potential opportunities as you go.


If you’re not a homebird, chances are you’re going to want to travel for work at some point. Contracting gives you a fantastic opportunity to see the world. Many contracting roles will either be based abroad or include some travel stints with plenty of opportunity to see different places and learn about different cultures and work environments.

Find the right workplaces

As a permanent employee, you might want to leave your current employer for personal reasons or due to a lack of opportunities but feel trapped because of the work involved in finding another permanent role and the upheaval that creates. As a contractor, moving to another company is entirely normal. Even if you do have cultural personality clashes in a contracting role, you’re only required to stay in that role for the length of the contract. Then you’re free to find a better fit for your next project.

Contracting isn’t for everybody, some people are just better suited to permanent roles. However, I am certain there are a few “Perm only!” people out there who could be missing out by ignoring contracting. If the idea of being  your own boss, moving between top companies, travelling and working with a wide variety of people and equipment excites you – even if it just sounds like a nice idea – it’s worth looking into contracting. If you’re in the Pharmaceutical Engineering industry, there’s never been a better time to give up that “Perm only!” mindset and find out what contracting could do for your career. 

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