From improving business processes to enhancing customer experience, Data and Analytics professionals are playing an increasingly important role across Australian businesses.

In fact, a recent survey of 150 Australian and New Zealand Data and Analytics Executives confirmed organisations are investing in “building their data and analytics capabilities, finding skilled staff and carving data-driven pathways forward”.

With 65% of respondents expecting to see their data teams grow in the next 12 months, it’s a buoyant job market for experienced professionals.

Sat firmly in the driver’s seat, the question remains whether it’s better to work as a Data and Analytics Contractor or a Permanent employee. To help you make a decision, we’ve outlined some points to consider.

Earning Potential

Access to higher rates of pay is often the most appealing reason to work as a Data and Analytics Contractor. At the moment in Australia, you can expect to get paid somewhere in the region of $1,000AUD per day as a Contractor while permanent employees average up to $150,000AUD. But it’s important to recognise those additional wages don’t make it straight into your bank account. It’s often there to offset sick and holiday leave, voluntary superannuation contributions and downtime between projects.

Tax and Other Obligations

Something that’s often not discussed is the increased administrative burden and responsibility when working as a Contractor. Submitting regular invoices can be time-consuming, and you’re ultimately accountable for your individual tax contributions. Whether you’re operating as a Limited Company or using an umbrella company, it’s never as straightforward as the life of a PAYG employee.

As a Contractor, you may also need to consider additional obligations such as insurance coverage if requested by your employer. This might include Workers Compensation, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.

Training and Skills Development

Funding for ongoing training and development is generally available for all permanent employees. It’s certainly in an employer’s best interest to ensure their teams are keeping abreast of trends in the Data and Analytics sector and instilling a culture of continuous learning.

However, skills and career development can look very different if you’re working as a Contractor. Any formal training or qualifications will need to be self-funded, but on the positive side, you will have access to a broad range of projects and teams where you can be learning on the job each day.

Opportunities for progression are also available for both permanent and contract employees. You’re likely to have a more structured career progression plan as a permanent worker, linked to regular performance appraisals. But you might have to wait for opportunities to arise in your current organisation or consider moving companies to take the next step on the ladder. As a Contractor, you simply apply for projects that suit your experience at any given point in time and can decide if you want to stretch yourself or stay in your comfort zone.

Team Culture and Structure

One thing many Contractors miss about life as a permanent employee is feeling part of a team. While there’s the opportunity to work on collective projects, it’s the cultural aspects that sometimes leave Contractors not feeling fully integrated.

There’s also the fact that Contractors are often brought in for short-term projects or specific deliverables, so can parachute in and then leave the organisation once the task is completed. Working within a team can be a change when shifting from a contract to a permanent job, particularly when related to hierarchies and reporting lines.

Where Contractors might have been their own boss for a long time and be used to consulting directly with senior leadership, they will often need to report to a Supervisor or Manager which can take some getting used to. Alternatively, they might have teams reporting to them and need to flex their people management skills again.


As a Contractor, it’s safe to say no two projects will be the same and there are seemingly endless opportunities to gain experience across different teams and industries. If you’re a professional who gets bored easily, a constant change of pace and scenery could be what you’re best suited to.

For some Contractors considering the switch to permanent work, the lack of variety might be appealing. Working within the same organisation means you can learn the inner workings of the business and see how your project contributes to the big picture. Longer-term, more complex projects might be the type of challenge some permanent professionals thrive on.

Considering the Switch from Contractor to Perm?

Making the move from Contracting to a permanent employee can offer many benefits and might be the most logical next step in your career. If you’d like to talk to a specialist Data and Analytics recruiter about your options in Sydney and across Australia, please give our team a call.

We recruit across both permanent and contract roles, so can help you weigh up the pros and cons and put you in touch with some of the best employers in the industry.