Survey Says: Marketing Contractors Are Thriving at Work

Recently, Marcomm surveyed our employees about their current experiences in contract marketing roles. Their answers provide a real-life glimpse into contractor culture, as well as how these roles impact professional growth. 

By sharing this information, Marcomm hopes to help hiring managers better understand the background, skills, and long-term career potential that contractors might bring to their organizations. In addition, prospective contractors can use this feedback to better evaluate whether they are a good fit for this way of working.  


When asked about their top reasons for choosing to work as a contractor, the vast majority (75%) saw it as a path to a full-time role with a company they wanted to work for. The full range of responses included:

Skill development

Marcomm found that an overwhelming 92% of respondents said they had learned, or significantly improved their skills in, one or more software applications in their current contract role. Over the years, we have seen that people who are skilled in project management and understand deadline/time management are great assets to any company.

When asked which categories of software applications they have learned or improved significantly in their current contract role, the top responses from Marcomm contractors were:

Project Management67%
Web Design/Development42%
Digital Asset Management 42%
Social Media Management33%
Web Analytics/Data25%
SEO/Keyword Research25%

We know that communication between the employer/client and the contractor is fundamental to meeting expectations for multiple campaigns or projects. So, in addition to software skills, Marcomm asked our people which soft skills they had grown and developed over the course of their current contract role. The survey feedback indicated they had grown in:

Client Relationship Management – internal or external 75%
Communication/Presentation Skills58%
Managing People/Team42%
Vendor/Partner Management17%

Culture fit

Marcomm prides itself on finding the right talent for our clients—which includes a mix of hard skills, soft skills and overall culture fit—and this survey confirms it. When asked to describe the “culture fit” in their current contract position, our Marcomm respondents were overwhelmingly positive:

Great fit 75%
Not sure yet – time will tell 17%
Not a good fit8%

Experience level

Next, survey participants were asked how long they have worked in contract roles (both current and previous positions). It is a common myth that contract positions don’t last very long, or that contracting must be a short blip on someone’s career path. However, almost half of our employees have been in contract roles for over 7 years. 

Marcomm employees indicated they have worked in contract roles for:

< 1 Year 25%
1-3 years         25%
3-5 years8%
5-7 years0%
7+ years42%

In terms of their overall career experience (all roles, not just contractor roles), more than half of our Marcomm employees have over 10 years of marketing-related experience. Here is the actual breakdown:

< 1 Year 0%
1-3 years         17%
3-5 years8%
5-7 years8%
7-10 years8%
10+ years58%

The 411 on employers

Marcomm employees were asked why their current client brought them in on a contract basis. As shown in the pie chart below, it appears that Company Growth and Specialization were two of the biggest reasons. This confirms what we have seen during our 25+ years of experience—that allocating the right resources at the right time is crucial in the marketing space.

Here is a summary of their answers:

Company Growth33%
Need Specialized Skill Set25%
Can’t Add Permanent Headcount Now 8%
Parental Leave8%
Company Reorganization8%
Employee Left/Backfill Empty Position8%
I’m not sure8%

Employer trends: a shifting mindset

Why is contract work becoming an in-demand option for both employers and job seekers? There are a few reasons.

First, well, COVID. According to this article from, around 34% of the U.S. workforce was already involved in the gig economy even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit; and in 2020, participation in contract work increased by 33%.

This April 2021 blog by HCMWorks summarizes the surge in contract opportunities over the past two years: “In 2020, the employment rate soared from 4% to 14.7%… Contract workers provided much needed flexibility and access to a diverse set of skills and alternative employment conditions.” The workforce advisory services firm also asserts, “The ability to get one’s foot in the door with contract work to showcase skill and network for potential employment is an opportunity not likely to be abandoned in the near future.” 

Second, it often makes more financial sense for companies to hire contractors versus investing in full-time employees during periods of rapid growth or market uncertainty. A July 2021 blog by Australian engineering consulting firm Easy Skill, called The End of Employees: Switching to Contract Talent, noted that utilizing contractors has become a hiring strategy for some companies. The article points out: “Take Google’s parent company Alphabet, ranked by Fortune magazine as the best place to work for seven out of the last ten years… With roughly equal numbers of contract workers and full-time employees, they’ve found their perfect workforce recipe.”

Finally, contractors are needed more than ever as massive numbers of Baby Boomers are retiring while, at the same time, many others are re-examining what they want for their post-pandemic lives. Walking away from stressful jobs to pursue a more fulfilling career/life has become a popular thing—and those jobs need to be filled quickly, if not permanently. Read more about how contract work drives opportunity in the midst of the Great Resignation.

Do you need help finding the right marketing contractor for the job? Connect with Marcomm today and let us put our experience to work for your company.