The benefits of working on a contract in marketing

If you’re a marketing professional but lack specific industry experience, or find working on a range of different projects stimulating, you might consider abandoning the search for a permanent position and entering the world of temping. You’ll be able to offer businesses relief for their workload and will be greatly appreciated during times of expansion or when the departure of a key employee leaves a gaping hole in the business.
Our 2012 marketing salary survey found that the use of temps has gone up by 10%. In a tough economic climate, where employers are more cautious when recruiting permanent employees, working on a temporary basis can give you valuable insight into the way different organisations function and offer you alternative perspectives on all aspects of marketing.
Of course, there are some drawbacks, such as the lack of job security that permanent positions offer, but for many, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Other benefits of working on a contract in marketing are that it’s a great way of filling a gap in your CV and you can test your skills in multiple areas of the industry.
In our LinkedIn discussion on the topic, MD of Michael Page Marketing, Paul Sykes, states: “interim contracts can give a candidate an opportunity to experience an organisation before entering into a permanent contract. It often encourages an employer to adapt a slightly more flexible approach to their recruitment process thus potentially opening the door to a wider pool of applicants.” Adding that in the current economic climate, “organisations are risk averse in their approach to hiring”.

The rise of digital

The last decade has seen a dramatic change in the industry, with an ever increasing emphasis on digital marketing. The demand for digital experts is far greater than the current supply, which means businesses are increasingly looking to hire contractors and freelancers to keep up with the evolving market. More and more companies are increasing their investment in digital, so if you’re not a permanent professional and have no digital experience, now is the time to get some hands-on experience to add to your CV.

What is contracting and freelancing?

Contractors can be brought in to cover maternity leave, other short-term absences and special projects because they can boost productivity and lend a hand to the rest of the team. As a marketing contractor you can be hired on a daily rate or a fixed-term contract with a salary. This means you could be contracted to an organisation for a whole year, so there’s the prospect of better job security than with freelancing.
Every business requires a marketing strategy, but small businesses with no in-house department and large organisations requiring additional support often choose to get in the help of a freelancer. You have a lot of control over your career working freelance and can receive better pay than permanent staff, but market conditions can affect how much work comes your way. Issues like working from home and budgeting for times when you have no work makes choosing to work freelance more than just a career choice; it’s a lifestyle choice too.
To be a successful freelancer, interim or contractor, you’ll need to adopt the following traits:
  • Adaptability and flexibility
Being able to jump head on into new challenges and adapt to different environments quickly is essential. You may be required to perform a task you’re familiar with but in a completely new way, so be willing to try new things.
  • Ability to work well under pressure
As someone moving organisations frequently you must be quick at starting new projects and understand that you won’t have time to ‘settle’ into a company. You’ve been brought in to do a job and chances are you’ll have a tight schedule, so you need to thrive when working under pressure and with new people.
  • Strong communication skills
Excellent communication skills are vital for any marketing professional anyway but you need to be able to adapt yours depending on your environment and audience, which will change with every organisation.
  • Hand-over competence
There may be times when your contract ends before you’ve completed the project you’re handling, so it’s important you’re proficient in handing-over and have a strategy in place that will help the team continue after you depart.
If you’re looking for a temporary marketing position, take a look at our current jobs on offer or if you’d like to give your opinion, join our LinkedIn discussion.