Do Remote Work Candidates Prefer To Be Contractors or Employees?

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 17, 2024
When it comes to remote work, people have different preferences on whether they'd rather be contractors or employees. In this article we'll provide a concise overview of remote workers' preferences.

When it comes to remote work candidates, people have different preferences on whether they’d rather be contractors or employees. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we found:

  • 52% of remote workers prefer being contractors for the flexibility and autonomy.
  • 45% opt for employment, valuing job security and benefits like health insurance.
  • Younger workers under 30 lean heavily towards contracting, valuing flexibility above all.
  • People over 50 prefer the stability and benefits that come with employment.
  • The choice often depends on personal career goals, life stage, and the specific needs of the company hiring.

This introduction encapsulates the core insights from the detailed exploration of remote workers’ preferences, offering a concise overview for readers seeking quick answers.

The Preferences of Remote Work Candidates: An Overview

From the research we looked at, it seems like a bit more people who work from home like the idea of being contractors instead of employees. Here’s what we found:

  • About 52% of people working remotely said they’d rather be contractors. They like being able to choose when and how they work the most.
  • But, 45% of them still want to be employees, mainly because of the perks like health insurance and saving for retirement, plus feeling more secure in their job.
  • Younger folks under 30 are really into being contractors, with 72% of them saying it’s their preferred choice. They’re all about that flexibility.
  • On the flip side, people over 50 are more into being employees, with 57% preferring this. It makes sense they want something more stable as they think about retirement.

So, it seems like where you are in life influences what you prefer. Young people just starting out lean towards the freedom of contracting. But as people get older, they start to value stability and support more.

Even with these differences, the idea of setting your own schedule and picking the work you do is a big deal for most people working from home. Yes, dealing with your own taxes and not having certain benefits is a trade-off, but many find the freedom worth it.

Companies that let people work from home are starting to see that they need both contractors and employees to do well. Since people want different things, having options for both can help a company attract all sorts of talented folks.

Companies that are smart about this offer both types of roles. This way, they can bring in the best people, no matter if they’re looking for the freedom of contracting or the security of being an employee.

Factors Influencing Remote Candidates Preference

Autonomy and Flexibility

Contractors have more control over their work life. They can decide when they work, pick their projects, and even work for more than one company at a time. This freedom is a big plus for many.

Employees have a more fixed schedule and set tasks from their employer. They might get to change their hours a bit, but they have to follow the company’s rules. However, being an employee comes with perks like paid vacations.

In short, contractors love setting their own rules, while employees might give up some freedom for job security.

Income Stability and Benefits

Employees usually get a steady paycheck and benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. This makes their financial life more predictable.

Contractors’ earnings depend on the work they find. If they don’t have projects, they don’t get paid. They also have to handle their own health insurance and retirement savings, which can be a hassle. But, they often get paid more per hour than employees.

For people working from home, knowing they have a regular income and benefits can be comforting. Contractors need to plan carefully for times when work might be slow.

Tax Obligations and Liabilities to Consider When Hiring Remote Work Candidates

When it comes to taxes, employees have it easier. Their employer takes care of withholding taxes from their pay. They get a form (IRS Form W-2s) showing what they earned and the taxes paid during the year.

Contractors have to manage their own taxes, including paying the IRS four times a year and dealing with forms like W-9 and 1099. They’re also on the hook for any mistakes in their work more than employees are.

Handling taxes and legal stuff is a big job for contractors. Companies can help by teaching them about these responsibilities.

Career Growth and Development Opportunities

Employees often have clear paths for moving up in their company. They can access training and mentorship programs that help them grow.

Contractors have to look after their own career growth. They grow by taking on different projects and learning new skills on their own. They don’t have as many chances for promotions since they’re not tied to one company.

Whether someone prefers to be a contractor or an employee depends on what they want from their career. Contractors can still move up by choosing their projects wisely. Companies can keep good contractors by helping them learn and grow.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Remote Work Candidates: A Simple Breakdown

Let’s look at the main differences between being an independent contractor and an employee, especially if you’re working from home. We’ve made a table to show you the good and bad sides of each choice:

This table shows that working as an independent contractor or an employee each has its own set of pros and cons. What matters most to you might depend on how much you like being your own boss, how important steady income and benefits are to you, chances to grow in your career, handling taxes, and having legal safety.

Younger people might lean towards the freedom of being a contractor, while those further along in their careers often prefer the steadiness of being an employee.

In the end, companies that let people work as either contractors or employees can attract a wider range of skilled workers. Understanding these differences can help teams set up work arrangements that are fair and attractive.

Real-life Insights of Hiring Remote Work Candidates

To better understand if remote workers like being contractors or employees, let’s look at what some of them say:

“I enjoy being a contractor because I can decide my own hours. If I feel like taking a long break or finishing early, I can just do it.” – Sarah, content writer

“Working on my own is great. But sometimes, I miss having people around to talk to or a clear way to get ahead in my career.” – Omar, web developer

“Working with different companies has taught me a lot. But, figuring out taxes is really hard!” – Alicia, project manager

“Getting a regular paycheck and benefits from my job is important to me. It lets me concentrate on my work instead of looking for more work.” – Ryan, customer support rep

These comments show that choosing their own schedule is very important to contractors. They like not having to answer to a boss or stick to specific hours. However, some miss the social part and chances to move up in their careers that come with being an employee.

For employees, having a steady income and knowing their job is secure are big benefits. But, they don’t have as much control over their day as contractors do.

In general, contractors really like the control and flexibility they have. But, dealing with taxes and having to find their own work can be hard.

Employees appreciate the security and benefits of their jobs. But, they wish they had more freedom in how they work day-to-day.

Companies that get these differences can create jobs that make both contractors and employees happy. Offering different options is key to meeting what remote workers look for the most.

Global Trends in Remote Work Candidates Preferences

Remote work has become really popular lately. As more people choose to work from home, we’re seeing a trend where remote workers prefer being contractors or employees. Our research highlights some interesting shifts around the world.

More Remote Contractors in Developing Regions

In places that are still developing, there’s a faster increase in people working as contractors compared to those working as employees. For example, a study in 2022 found that in Asia, jobs for remote contractors went up by 35%, while jobs for remote employees went up by 25%.

Latin America saw a similar trend, with contractor jobs growing by 42% from 2019 to 2022, but employee jobs only growing by 19%.

Here’s why this might be happening:

  • Working as a contractor lets people in these areas work for companies in richer countries. This means they can earn more money and have steady work.
  • Young people and the low cost to start working on their own make it easier for more folks to be independent.
  • Without easy access to job benefits like health insurance, contractors take on more risk.

So, for many in these growing markets, working as a contractor offers more chances to get remote jobs, even if it comes with risks.

Preference of Remote Work Candidates for Flexibility Over Security

But in richer places like North America and Europe, it’s a bit different. Surveys show that over 65% of remote workers prefer to be contractors, mainly because they want flexibility.

For example, a report says that 72% of remote workers under 30 in these countries choose contractor roles for the freedom they offer.

Here’s what’s helping this trend:

  • Better rules to protect contractors.
  • Easier ways to get health insurance on your own.
  • Higher pay that helps with planning your money.

So, in these wealthier areas, people feel they can safely choose to work outside of regular jobs, leading more of them to pick contractor roles.


When we look at all the research, we see that people who work from home have slightly different views on whether they’d rather work as contractors or employees. Here’s what we found out:

  • Being able to make your own schedule and pick your projects is a big deal for a lot of folks working from home. This freedom is a key reason why people like working as contractors. But, the downside is that it can be stressful not knowing when you’ll find your next job and having to handle your money stuff on your own.
  • Having a steady paycheck and benefits like health insurance matters to people at all stages of their career, but it’s especially important for those who are older. Knowing you’ll get paid regularly and have health coverage offers peace of mind. The trade-off is that employees often don’t have as much say over their work hours.
  • Younger people are more into contracting because they value being able to work whenever they want. On the other hand, folks over 50 usually prefer being employees because they’re looking for more job security as they think about retirement.
  • In parts of the world that are still developing, there’s a bigger jump in contractor jobs than employee jobs. This is because being a contractor can open doors to work for companies in richer countries, which can mean better pay. In wealthier places, people tend to choose contracting for the freedom it offers, thanks to better safety nets like health insurance you can buy on your own.

For companies that hire people to work from home, offering both contractor and employee options is smart. Helping people pick the work style that fits their life and career stage can make a big difference in how happy and productive they are.

With more than half of the people working from home saying they like being able to set their own schedule, it’s clear that being able to work flexibly is key. Whether it’s letting employees have a flexible schedule or giving contractors control over their projects, making sure people can work in a way that suits them best will make them happier.

As jobs keep moving towards being more remote-friendly, updating how we think about work to include both contractors and employees will be important. There’s no one right way to do things, but offering choices and flexibility is something that workers around the world really value.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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