What is a contingent worker? This is a common question professionals ask when they are considering their employment options. Contingent workers are a group of people who do not have a contract that explicitly defines any long-term employment with a company. Their work is exclusively based on short-term engagements.

Employees who do not want to work in a certain company for a long period of time also fall under the category of contingent workers. Such employees may defined as freelancers, consultants or independent contractors. They can either work in the company’s offices or remotely. They are highly skilled and experts in their areas of specialization.

Differences Between Contingent Workers and Employees

Contingent workers are not considered employees of a company. They work as freelancers under a contract or on a temporary basis. Unlike permanent employees, their retention depends on the continued existence of the job at hand.

Contingent workers do not receive salaries. Instead, they receive payments or commissions for the work done. They are not liable for benefits like contracted employees and are responsible for their own taxes. Contingent workers cannot be told how to complete a project, as they work for themselves. The company’s main focus when dealing with them is on the results of the project, not how it is being done.

Importance of Contingent Workers to Companies

Companies who want to improve their overall output may hire contingent workers to expand their labor force. Tapping into the contingent workforce can also help companies save a lot of money on expenses associated with direct exits of contracted workers, training new employees and lost productivity. Companies also save by not hiring employees for skills that may not be useful in the next six to 12 months.

Benefits of Becoming a Contingent Worker

One major advantage of going the contingency route is that you get the opportunity to build your skills professionally. You will most likely work on a variety of projects from different companies. These projects will give you the right platform to make use of your current skills and add more. This will add enormously to your resume and make you more marketable.

Working for different companies will help you identify what type of company suits you best. This will not only give you an idea of where you want to work, but it will also increase your chances of getting more permanent and lucrative positions.

Working on a contingency basis will also give you the opportunity to interact with a variety of corporate managers and decision-makers. By impressing them with your skills and expertise, you will get a chance to add a few more names to the list of references in your CV.

How to Impress Employers as a Contingent Employee

The most important thing you need to do is earn the trust of your employer. This means you have to maintain a high degree of integrity at work and be accountable for everything. You must be confident and assertive to work with a new team and help produce from the first day. You must also be able to read people around you and communicate effectively.

The number of contingent workers today is about 40 percent of the total workforce in the US. The number is even expected to increase significantly by 2020. This presents a lot of hope for anyone who wants to become a contingent worker in the country.