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We’re productive – says Monash University research

October 2012

Recent research “…debunks the myth that IPros (self-employed professionals) are less committed to their work than permanent employees… One of the biggest differences between a permanent employee and an IPro appears to be that IPros are results-driven from day one. They recognise the value of time and deliver accordingly.”

This is a major finding of new Monash University research into the profiling of self-employed, independent contractors. Below is a summary of the research.

The report can be downloaded  here.

Since 2004, ICA has been accumulating research that profiles self-employed people. We think the outcomes debunk many myths. Here’s the list of research reports.  

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IPro Index 2012 Summary

IPros are productive, professional and take pride in their work

  • Regardless of whether the terms of the contract are for a period of time or to carry out a certain task or project, IPros understand their engagement relies on being productive.
  • The nature of contracts ensures they understand the value of time and are focused on the task at hand from day one of their engagement.
  • 96% of IPros say they adhere to agreed work schedules
  • 95% meet work or project goals as quickly as possible
  • 87% say they do not waste time (9% neither agree or disagree)
  • 85% believe they consistently do things right, first time, every time
  • 97% meet work or project goals to professional and organisation standards

IPros are absolutely committed to their client organisation – for the duration of their contract

  • 98% of IPros say they have their client's best interests at heart. 2% neither agree nor disagree
  • 90% believe they know the attributes of the products that their clients value the most.
  • 86% know their client's definition of quality.  
  • 98% also believe they are trustworthy.  The remaining 2% neither agree nor disagree.
  • Approximately two-thirds experience a sense of commitment to their current client
  • Just over half of IPros regularly ask clients for feedback on their performance.

The IPro-client organisation relationship is based on mutual benefit exchange

  • Three quarters of IPros say their relationship with their employers is supportive.
  • They believe their employers care about their opinions and that their employer is available to help them, should they need it.
  • Three quarters also say that their employer has fulfilled or is fulfilling the majority of promised made during the hiring process

IPros are very in touch with changes in the labour market and their job prospects

  • In general, IPros acknowledge that work is out there, but the options for finding better work are limited.
  • 59% of IPros thought finding IPro work in their current geographical area as good as the work they had now would be “somewhat easy” to “very easy”.
  • This is balanced by 54% of IPros who admitted finding better work would be “quite difficult” to “very difficult”.

IPros enjoy their contracting life

  • Despite job market and economic fluctuations, in 2012, for the fourth consecutive year, satisfaction with lifestyle, commitment to clients, and perceived support from clients have all increased.
  • The highest and most positive attitude score remains well-being, which measures work engagement, and the psychological and emotional aspects of being an IPro.

Vertical market differences

  • IPros working in mining and engineering express the greatest job satisfaction, followed by general and project management IPros, then IT contractors.
  • General and project management contractors express the highest level of belief in themselves; most likely to perceive support from their client and are more committed to their current client than any other vertical.
  • Admin/Office Support IPros are the most likely to have been pushed into contracting due to factors such as job loss, difficulty in finding permanent work or because of tight labour market conditions.  As a result, they are also least likely to be fully engaged in their work, to feel they have employer support, and are least confident about future work prospects.

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