Freelancers and Independent Contractors Beware: Build Back Better Vows to Impose the PRO Act Which Threatens Your Livelihood
The freedom to work as a freelancer or independent contractor provides flexibility for households and vibrancy to the American economy. It is tailor-made for architecture and design practices and the freelance architects seeking to fill the peaks and valleys standard in architecture practices.
The PRO Act bans Right to Work laws nationwide. Still, it also imposes the same independent contractor/freelancer-destroying policies of California’s AB5 law, which has destroyed countless lives and driven people out of the Golden State.
Freelancers and independent contractors want to be their bosses. AB5 and the PRO Act dictate they must have a boss. Households need greater flexibility than ever after the changes brought about by COVID in the workplace.
I have been fighting my whole professional career for the right to freelance and become an independent contractor. We need to rally the political wing of the AIA.org and ask their Advocacy group to engage and lobby against this provision of the Build Back Better bill.
Act Now Contact Sarah Dodge, AIA, Senior Vice-President of Advocacy & Relationships, and ask her to put the full force of the AIA’s advocacy group behind removing the AB5 provision out of Build Back Better!
It probably feels pretty amazing to have that degree.
Of course, the longer you go without using it, the more that degree is going to become an irritating reminder. So, let’s look at four of the best architecture careers you can start pursuing right away.
The 4 Best Architecture Related Careers to Get Started in Right Now
The field of architecture is at least as broad as it is old. As such, it’s probably fair to say that there are countless architecture careers out there for you to consider.
However, the following four fields will give you plenty of diverse options beyond the traditional versions. Best of all, each features plenty of job openings throughout the country.
Landscape architects are responsible for planning and creating landscapes, which can include manmade features, as well. Oftentimes, landscape architects need to collaborate with others, so that their creations complement buildings that will share the same environment (and vice versa).
This career may also involve the long-term care of the landscape, as well. This is when a talent for the natural sciences is very helpful.
As a huge part of this field involves the buildings in urban environments, it requires an architect who’s able to take the resources available (including money and space) and make the most of them. An architect who becomes proficient at this will never be long without work.
Architecture is such a massive industry that it requires an equally impressive army of journalists. Unfortunately, most journalists don’t have a very good understanding of architecture. They might be able to cover the topic for those outside the industry, but their lack of knowledge wouldn’t go unnoticed by those who depend on a high-level expertise for a living.
Finally, if you have a passion for history and architecture, you will be uniquely qualified to become an architectural historian.
In short, as an architectural historian, your job will involve advising restoration projects aimed at buildings of historical significance. This often involves researching the building to better understand the materials and methods that were used to build it.
Want an Expert’s Help Considering Architecture Careers?
While we hope that the above list of possible architecture careers is helpful, we know that this decision is a big one and you may want some help with it.
At Consulting For Architects, Inc. Careers we’ve helped recent graduates just like you with this important next step, ensuring that they find jobs which fall in line with their interests and career goals. Contact us today at (212) 532-4360 or [email protected] to learn more about how we can help you do the exact same thing.
Visit our Booth on the 1st Floor #4315 June 21-23 New York City – Jacob Javits center
Get ready for three immersive days of what’s new and now in architecture and design, hosted in one of the most iconic cities in the world. At A’18, some of the most creative architects, designers, and firms will share how they’re creating their own blueprint and making a difference in cities of every size all over the world. Find us on google.
Baby boomers are retiring in record numbers, and their millennial replacements are very different in terms of personal characteristics, as well as job and workplace expectations. Millennials, aged 18 to 34 years old, already makeup more than one-third of the workforce. By 2025, they will account for close to 75 percent. Architecture firms are now in an intense competition to attract and retain qualified millennial professionals. Understanding the millennial perspective and developing a suitable workplace environment are imperatives for business sustainability.
Characteristics of Millennials
Millennials are one of the most analyzed generations because of their complexity. They are the first generation of digital natives, and technology has enormously influenced their expectations. For example, they are driven by a need for social connectedness and have integrated technology deeply into their personal lives. As such, they now expect the same in their work lives. CISCO calls it the “new workplace currency,” since 56 percent of college students surveyed said they would not accept a position at a company that banned access to social media.
Millennials have high expectations. They want higher pay based on skills sets and faster promotions. They believe the firm should provide appropriate leadership development and have values that match their own. If the business fails to meet these expectations, the employee will leave. Millennials are not interested in plugging along doing eight hours of mundane routine work they see as having little social impact. They want to do meaningful work that is clearly connected to solving complex societal problems.
Millennials are optimistic about the future and are a diverse generation, with over 44 percent identifying with an ethnic group or a minority race, according to theU.S. Census Bureau. They are content creators, thriving on collaboration. They also want work-life balance, which for the millennial may mean using remote-work technology. A 2015 CISCO survey found that over half of Gen Y (millennials) and Gen X (generation sandwiched between baby boomers and millennials) consider themselves accessible for work 24/7.
Perhaps the most important characteristic to understand is that millennials want to work for companies that reflect their personal values. A Deloitte survey found that 56 percent of millennials had ruled out working for an employer because their values were in conflict. This is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts for traditional organizations to master.
Why are You Leaving?
Understanding the top reasons millennials change jobs provides a knowledgeable foundation for developing recruiting and retention strategies. Consulting for Architects, Inc. (CFA) conducted a survey which asked architecture and design firms to rank, in descending order of importance, the reasons employees aged 18 to 35 years old left their firms. The results are revealing and support much of the academic and business research and studies conducted over the years to identify millennial characteristics.
Ranking number one in the CFA survey as the top reason for millennial turnover is concern about the lack of opportunities for career advancement. Number two is a desire for more challenging work. Number three is dissatisfaction with the leadership of senior management. Number four is disagreement with the overall direction of the organization. Number five is dissatisfaction with the compensation and benefits. Number six is unhappiness with the amount and/or type of rewards and level of recognition for contributions to the firm. Number seven is a desire to seek a better work/life balance.
It is not surprising the leadership of senior management ranks high because these are the people most responsible for the firm policies and procedures, business culture, and talent management system. Since many of the senior leaders are baby boomers, there is a generational difference in attitudes towards work, career, and the need for employee recognition. Baby boomer architects and designers spent many years doing low-level assignments, putting in many hours without regard for work/life balance. The rewards were the work itself and steady career advancement, and for some, reaching a point where it was possible to start a new business. Now baby boomers are managing organizations in which millennials already comprise or will soon comprise most of the workforce, and the younger generation wants change.
A good example of the generational difference is found in a blog written by a millennial architect. The title says it all – “Millennial Architect Won’t be Your CAD Monkey.” There have been other surveys conducted, and they support the CFA survey results and the need for senior leaders to adapt the work environment to meet the needs of the millennials. A 2012 survey, for example, found that millennials expected to stay in their jobs for less than five years.
The strategies for attracting and recruiting millennials specifically address their characteristics and the top reasons they leave architecture firms . First, it is important to develop a workplace culture that nurtures the millennial spirit and makes young architects believe this would be the best place to work. The culture must embrace diversity and cherish the organization’s brand and reputation. For instance, since millennials always check social networks for information, potential employers should take into consideration what current employees, clients and communities are saying about the company. Every architectural firm should regularly monitor and manage the online conversation concerning the organization. The online conversation coupled with the marketing strategies needs to demonstrate the architecture firm’s mission, values, ethics and beliefs, so that recruits will see that their personal values align with the organization’s values.
Technology plays a critical role in other respects. Video interviews can showcase an architecture firm as a progressive and flexible culture, and can often provide distinct advantages to both the firm and the interviewee. For the millennial, video interviews are also more convenient, as they get an opportunity to show their true character instead of only what is on the resume.
For the architecture firm, video interviewing saves time and money because the cost is much less compared to in-person interviews. It makes the hiring process quicker while also giving the interviewer an opportunity to explore facets of the person’s personality traits, something not possible with a written resume. Overall, video interviewing fits a modern workforce expecting efficient use of technology, flexibility and a willingness to collaborate for mutual benefit.
Other recruiting tools include developing a good pay and benefits package, supplemented with the presentation of career path opportunities that demonstrate potential upward mobility. Millennials who see a position as dead-end will either refuse a position or will accept the position only as a stepping stone for obtaining licensing.
Millennials have been described as “children of the revolution.” The “revolution” is a shift in individual perspectives to a focus on the needs of the community. Millennials want to do meaningful work centered on people; therefore, one of the most critical retention strategies is developing work with these attributes. Tasks must allow them opportunities to work on projects that make a social impact, like environmental sustainability renovations, low-income housing solutions and disaster relief architecture.
The type of projects offered will influence the turnover rate. Research indicates that 91 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years if the work is not challenging. They are entrepreneurial and will leave a boring job to start a new business in order to meet personal goals.
Architecture firms must rethink everything from work schedules to leadership training. Strategies include allowing flexible work that lets employees work within a loosely structured schedule. The 9-to-5 schedule is out. One of the ways personal and organizational values are integrated is by allowing employees time to take care of personal needs, like family or community projects. Ideally, the flexible schedule is coupled with the right to work remotely. They are as likely to be found reading and responding to work emails at 9 p.m. as they are at 9 a.m.
Professional development is also crucial. In the Deloitte survey mentioned earlier, six out of 10 millennials believe their companies do not fully develop their leadership skills. Yet, this is one of the most prized activities determining business value. Skills development involves a variety of activities, including training software, mentoring and collaborative teamwork. Millennials need and want a lot of support that encourages them to pursue leadership roles on teams, as well as over projects and departments.
Overhauling Business As Usual
Attracting, hiring and retaining millennials requires a complete overhaul of “business as usual.” All aspects of the talent management process should be viewed through the millennial lens with the ultimate goal of building a loyal, innovative workforce. Admittedly, the current disconnect between millennial expectations and the traditional architecture firm’s work structure is wide, so now is the time to begin making required changes. No one ever said it would be easy to move into the future – a future that is here now.
First, make an architecture or interior-design independent contractor into an employee by formalizing the person’s work arrangement and paying him or her regular wages. The IRS and its interpretation of payment and work plays the most important role in deciding a person’s status. At our staffing firm for architects and designers converting a independent contractor to a full-time employee is a third of our business.
Characteristics of an independent contractor
The IRS views an independent contractor as a person who works apart from the firm, and the rules governing them are not extremely clear cut. This wide room for interpretation has led to disputes in a number of workplaces. Fortunately, the status of an independent contractor is not as ambiguous as that of intern architect or draftsman.
By definition, an independent contractor is a person who has a significant amount of control over his or her work, achieves goals independently from the firm, doesn’t need to adhere to all the firm’s rules, uses his or her own equipment and doesn’t require close supervision by a member of the firm.
Characteristics of an employee
An employee must follow the set rules of the firm. He or she receives payment through a W-2 rather than a 1099 form. An employee uses the firm’s equipment to complete jobs, has a title with the firm and is subject to supervision by a member of the firm.
The transformation from contractors into employees
4 Key Points
A person’s status changes when the firm takes them under its wing. Typically, this process involves the following aspects: training, giving the person authority to make decisions for the business, assigning the person key duties to perform and redefining the person’s work status as permanent, off-probation or retained for a set period of time. The process is complete when the new employee understands their work responsibilities and begins a project on behalf of the firm.
It is critical that the person understand what it means when he or she has become an agent of the firm. The best way to accomplish this task is in writing. The new architect or interior designer and the owner of the firm should sign a letter of agreement stating the worker is now an employee.
You can ratify and celebrate the change in a person’s status by providing them with business cards that state their title and contact information. Having a letter signed and dated by the owner that contains a start date is also helpful and thoughtful for those changing from independent contractors into employees.
Finally, it is meaningful for the firm to circulate an internal announcement that they have hired the independent contractor as a full-time employee.
1. Reduces your carbon footprint.
2. Reduces traveling to multiple interviews.
3. Embraces new innovations and technologies.
4. Presents you as a person, not a piece of paper.
5. Employers (9 out of 10) watch video resumes before reading paper resumes. Clients frequently submit their own questions for you.
The benefits of embracing video interviews for the environment are easy to see, but it’s also great at cutting down wasted time in your career search. Think of how tough it can be to schedule interviews at the best firms. Now imagine how easy it could be if the firm could meet you virtually from anywhere, at any time. Best of all, the environment gets a reprieve.
Video Interviews Help Staffing Firms Become More Successful
Staffing firms are a collection of professional Talent Acquisition professionals. But their lives could be made so much easier with video interviews. Many staffing firms employ Talent Acquisition specialists who often find they lack enough time in the day to complete every task, or who become exasperated trying to track candidates down. Using video interviews, staffing firms can help their Talent Acquisition team get their lives back. Find out how:
• Video interviews save staffing firms time. When it comes to finding the right candidate, it’s up to their Talent Acquisition team to source and screen hundreds of candidates for just the right fit. Often, this is done by building talent pools from which to read through matching resumes. Then comes the old phone screen. This can be a cumbersome process. A phone screen could take an hour per employee. However, many staffing firms are increasingly finding that by using video interviews, they’re able to screen more candidates in less time. Imagine the Talent Acquisition pros being able to sit back and collect video interviews on demand from candidates. This means less time trying to track candidates down and schedule formal phone screens. Instead, they can send an email with a link that candidates log onto to prepare their video on demand. Suddenly, staffing firms are able to put the onus on candidates. They can simply sit back and wait for a candidate to record their video interview on demand and send it to the Talent Acquisition professional. Staffing firms, are able to view 10 video interviews on demand in the span of time it takes to do one phone screen.
• Collaboration is enhanced with video interviews. Often, the Talent Acquisition pros in staffing firms feel as if they’re operating in a bit of a vacuum. We’ve heard from many staffing industry pros that they find a great candidate they’d like to share, but it can be difficult to break through the noise of candidate resumes flowing in and collaborate. This can be a frustration of the past. With video interviews, staffing firms are able to view, score and share the top video interviews with their colleagues. This brings more eyes into the process and ensures a better candidate screening overall.
• Video interviews enhance the candidate experience. Of the thousands of candidates we work with per month, we hear a common frustration: their candidate experience is lacking. When candidates apply to jobs through staffing firms, they can feel like little more than a number. Video interviews can help make them feel like they’re going through a personal experience. Live video interviews are a great way for candidates to log on, view welcome videos, and to gain more information on the position they’re applying for. This allows Talent Acquisition to offer more nuance to the candidate. And using the visual medium, it allows them to tell their client’s story better. Candidates love video interviews because they feel it’s more intimate than walking in and finding 10 other candidates also competing for the same position. Video interviews are technologically advanced and offer candidates an immersive experience, allowing both Talent Acquisition and candidates to tell their story better.
Time to hire shrinks with video interviews. These days, candidates want a shorter time to hire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, time to hire rose from 24.5 days to 29 days in July of 2015. This is due in part to rising hiring quotas and shrinking budgets to actually accomplish increased hiring requirements. As the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire and employers increasingly look to the Millennial generation to fill these roles, time to hire will become increasingly important. Approximately 33% of Millennials report that they get hired within a month’s time. Longer times to hire could potentially scare away the very best candidates.Staffing firms are finding themselves increasingly in demand because of the roaring return of the economy. As more jobs are added to the job market, their Talent Acquisition teams will find themselves struggling to keep up. With video interviews, they can remain ahead of the curve and deliver superior results to their customers. Interested in finding out more? Call us today and schedule a free demo of our video interview software.
For the most part, these discussions and debates have focused on companies like Uber and Lyft that connect independent contractors with customers to provide consumer services. More often ignored is the growing population of contingent workers, including independent contractors, statement-of-work-based labor, and freelancers who provide services to corporations. But this is a growing population of workers, many of whom are highly skilled.
It takes a careful mix of mission, management, and culture.
Attracting, retaining, and managing these highly skilled workers will require new ways of thinking about talent management and the role that external talent plays. Companies will need to become “the client of choice” for these high-end contractors.
Recent research illustrates the growing corporate use of contingent workers:
Our own research reinforces these findings. The MBO Partners 2015 State of Independence workforce study found that 6.4 million Americans report that they provide professional services to corporations on a contingent or contract basis. Of these, about 2 million report earning $75,000 or more last year.
Not only is this group large—by way of comparison, this is substantially more than the roughly 4 million Americans who work in the automotive industry, including those working in car dealerships and automotive parts retailing—it’s also growing. Our study shows the number of contingent workers providing professional services to corporations has been growing at about three times the rate of overall employment over the past five years.
Two broad shifts—one on the employer side, the other on the worker side—are driving this boom. First, companies increasingly need a flexible workforce to compete globally. In our research we heard from company leaders that their businesses are turning to independent workers to increase business flexibility and agility. Independent workers allow them to quickly and efficiently scale staffing up and down to meet shifts in demand and changing business circumstances in an increasingly volatile and always-changing global economy. Businesses are also turning to highly skilled independent workers due to difficulties in attracting and retaining employees with hard-to-find specialized talents.
Second, many skilled professionals want independence and are going into contingent work to gain greater work/life flexibility, autonomy, and control over their careers. These highly talented professionals are realizing they are able to go off on their own and make as much or even more money — so they’re doing just that.
These professionals are in demand, and they know it. According to our research, 83% say they have a lot of choice or some choice over who they work with. Only 17% report having little or no choice over who they work with. In other words, these talented professionals can choose what to work on and with whom to work.
So what do these highly skilled independent workers want from their clients?
Being paid well and on time is obviously important to independent workers. But less obvious — and generally more important — are the non-monetary reasons independents choose their clients.
Skilled independents want the ability to control their lives, have meaningful work, and to be part of the team. When it comes to deciding which clients to work with, 96% selected “Value my work” as an important client attribute. Right behind was “Allow me control over my schedule” (89%) and “Allow me control over my work” (88%). “Treat me as part of the team” came in fourth. While independents value their autonomy and don’t want to be traditional employees, they also want to be treated as contributing team members.
Steve King is a Partner at Emergent Research, a research and consulting firm focused on small and micro businesses.
Gene Zaino is the founder and CEO of MBO Partners, a provider of support, tools and resources for independent professionals and their clients.
Reasons to be self-employed add up to 55! Taken by a poll of its readers, this list of reasons to be self-employed is the most thought out I have seen. It was written by By: Jennifer Good for The Self-Employed Website.
Being self-employed is one of the truest forms of freedom. In fact, when we polled TSE readers, flexibility and freedom were the number one responses as to why they loved being self-employed. While those reasons are often the tipping point for becoming “jobless,” there are indeed many other benefits to working for yourself.
To celebrate the lifestyle of the entrepreneur, here is a list of our favorite reasons it’s better to employ yourself:
Set your own hours.
You are your own boss.
Opportunity to make unlimited income.
Can work from home.
Can work literally anywhere.
Are able to put family priorities first.
You get the value that you create for yourself.
You don’t just work for a paycheck.
No office or corporate politics to deal with.
Able to do something you are passionate about.
Great tax benefits.
Can work in your pajamas if you want to.
No more dealing with traffic if you don’t want to.
Take vacation or sick time whenever you need to.
In today’s economy, being self-employed can have more job security than a traditional job.
True control of your finances.
You are able to do work you find truly rewarding.
Learn more about yourself than any other “job” experience might offer.
True flexibility in everything you do.
Opportunity to surround yourself with people who you like to work with.
More opportunities to spend time on perfecting your skills.
Work doesn’t feel like work.
Spend a few years working your butt off to reap rewards other people only dream of.
Every day can feel like an adventure.
You will get along with everyone in your office.
Only you need to believe in yourself. You don’t have to sell your ideas or vision to higher-ups.
Solopreneurs – You’ll always be employee of the month!
You can set up your office however you want.
Limit the amount of time you spend trading dollars for hours.
Get paid while you’re sleeping with passive income opportunities.
Gaining real world experience that will help your business versus limited job-only experience.
Having a job can be more risky than being self-employed.
You can fire your clients or customers if you don’t like them.
You are not limited to the money you earn each paycheck.
You are more likely to hang out with other entrepreneurs to help fuel the idea fire.
Every day is like a new challenge – a chance to grow as a person.
You can do something you’ve always dreamed about doing.
You will be able to spend more quality time with your family.
You can take control of your own personal and career development.
You could become a thought leader for your niche.
The more you put into your business, the more you will get out of it.
You will be able to create a feeling of pride around your business and your accomplishments.
You can earn as little or as much as you want.
You will have more freedom to work, play or rest when you want to.
You will have ultimate control over what projects you work on.
Being self-employed is the ultimate DIY project.
Have true control of your future.
Can create multiple revenue streams.
Your daily work can be as varied as you desire.
You earn your income everyday.
You can be yourself.
Busy times are something you look forward to when you’re self-employed.
Get to meet new people that you might not have in a typical job environment.
You work to create results, not to impress people.
You are 100% in control.
Weigh In: What’s your favorite reason for being self-employed?
Freelancers Union strongly supports the national effort to increase quality, affordable coverage for our members and all independent workers.
The current health care system is failing, and it hurts independent workers more than most.
Freelancers Union has been building solutions within, around, and despite our nation’s crippled health care and insurance system for over ten years. We have confronted some unpleasant realities along the way—from skyrocketing medical costs to an outdated employer-based system.
We have also found many inspiring models, some of which have not only informed our work but are also reflected in the health reform proposals being crafted on Capital Hill. But with the debate moving into high gear, politics and buzzwords are overshadowing conversation about priorities and goals.
What kinds of reform have the potential to truly benefit Freelancers Union members? We’ve outlined five measurements of success and explained the ideas behind them and the policies that could achieve them. We hope these pages will help you better understand our organization and the freelancer’s place in the national debate.
Find yourself running out of enthusiasm and steam? Are you low on vim and vigor? Here are six ways to get your motivation mojo working again, courtesy of Jason Echols at Black Belt Productivity.
1. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish in a day. Nothing kills motivation faster than an unclear task list (or no task list at all). If possible, plan your day the night before.
2. Stay positive. Is the glass half full, or half empty? Your choice. But know that a good attitude and a proper perspective can help keep you moving.
3. Don’t forget the finish line. Keep your end goals in mind — remember what it is you’re working for, whether it’s a promotion, a project, or taking care of your family.
4. Get plenty of rest. Low energy = low motivation, so don’t skimp on sleep, tempting as it might be to stay up late and get some more things done.
5. Exercise. It’s no secret that a good sweat, especially first thing in the morning, can jump-start both your body and your brain.
6. Eat smart. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to take that lunch break, or even grab breakfast when you’re running late. But a steady diet of vending-machine food, or gorging too much at noontime because you’re starving, can sap your body and slow your motor down.