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Free of charge: The Forgotten Workforce


A joint research project of Monash University and Entity Solutions, this report looks at findings about the attitudes to the work of freelance consultants and those that engage them. The research has focused on face-face interviews with independent freelance consultants working in the IT industry and, a survey of the businesses that engage them. (PDF file, 14 pages, 300 KB).

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Unformated preview of the document: 'The Forgotten Workforce' (Part 6):

time it may be that it is not right for you" (T2: Z3)
Locus of Control
This personality trait explains the degree to which an individual believes that he or she is in control
of his or her own fate. People are generally divided into two types: people with internal loci of
control, who believe that they control their own destinies, and individuals with external loci of
control, who believe that their lives are largely determined by outside forces, such as luck or
chance. Generally, workers with internal loci of control are more highly motivated, receive higher
wages, and are more satisfied in their jobs. These patterns are especially true when the working
conditions require the worker to learn complex tasks, when the work requires high levels of
autonomy and independence, and when added effort is likely to be rewarded financially. It follows
then, that contractors with internal loci of control are more likely to be satisfied and successful.
"I have got a colleague actually who has just started contracting down at a different project,
and he and I worked together for many years for a banking company here, and we kind of
agreed there are two, broadly, two types of people. There are the people who don't get
stressed about their job and they come in and they will do what they are told and if it goes
pear shaped well it is not their responsibility, and there is the other people who are the
project based typical fraternity that are task-based, project-based, perhaps more
entrepreneurial (may not be but you know), they take responsibility for what they do and if it
does go belly up they move heaven and earth to make whatever they are doing work."
(T4: A)
We see from these comments that the ideal contractor may therefore have a combination of
different personality traits. For example, a contractor who is emotionally stable but overly passive
may be less successful than a resilient individual who takes a more active role in managing
contacts and deliverables. We set out in Figure 6 a view of how these may fit together do begin
the process of establishing a profile of the 'good contractor'.
Figure 6: Summary of What makes a Good Contractor
Internal Locus of Control External Locus of Control
High Emotional Stability Most Successful Contractor Moderately Successful
Low Emotional Stability Moderately Successful Contractor Least Successful Contractor
A similar matrix can also be produced for the locus of control.
Although certain personality traits may be associated with more successful contracting, it is
important to keep in mind the fact that these personality traits are stable over time. We therefore
turn our attention to those skills that contractors or can potentially develop further, in order to be
more satisfied and effective within this employment arrangement. One "soft skill" in particular, selfefficacy,
may be especially useful for contractors.
Self-efficacy can be defined as an individual's belief that he or is able to perform a specific task.
Whereas "confidence" is a broader attribute that applies to individuals' beliefs about their abilities in
all situations, self-efficacy deals specifically with the matter at hand. When presented with a
challenging task, people with higher levels of self-efficacy will persist longer in trying to solve any
difficulties, they are more motivated, and they are more resilient in the face of negative feedback.
It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the contractors who we interviewed demonstrated high
levels of self-efficacy.
"...they would then turn around because they couldn't fill the job and go, okay we will give
you this job as a contractor because w know you can do the job, yet we will give you twice
as much money. That is the reason too, people hire people on a permanent basis for what
they can potentially do, they hire a contractor for what they can do and I could do the job,
so they hired me and they gave me twice the money so I was happy to stay.... I have a
belief that job security doesn't come from a contract, an employment contract, it comes
from the strength of your CV. So, ultimately, if you have got a strong CV then you have
high job security. Other people don't share that belief and so they are willing to pay a
premium in a reduction in their pay to actually have another sort of security which is the
employment contract. Because my belief is that ultimately job security is from the strength
of your

Unformated preview of the document: 'The Forgotten Workforce':  Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

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