Hays’ Adam Shapley examines the advantages of IT contracting and why those working in the sector should consider it full time.
Rapid technological advances are a sign of the times, but they’ve left many employers scrambling to deliver IT and business transformation faster than ever before.
It’s therefore no wonder that IT contractors are now viewed by employers as an ideal flexible resource to help them deliver projects and add technical skills in areas where a team is falling short.
And it’s not a one-way street. It’s fair to say that IT contracting is mutually beneficial to both the employer and the contractor.
There are reasons why IT professionals are jumping on the contracting bandwagon. In this blog, I’ll be looking at the advantages of IT contracting to help you decide whether it’s the right move for you.
Increased earning potential
IT contractors are in demand right now. In the US, Hays’ 2023 Salary Guide uncovered that roughly 70pc of employers expect their temp or contractor headcount to stay the same or even increase this year. Similarly, Hays’ UK Salary Guide reported a continued upward trend in employers bringing in staff on contracts.
As explored in the Hays Australia Contractor Rates Guide for 2023, the need for contractors with tech skills is great and organisations are willing to reward handsomely.
The employer is paying for your flexibility, plus the temporary nature of the role. Many contract roles will also pay overtime and could be more tax efficient depending on your country.
Coming in at number two is the flexibility contracting offers. One respondent to a Hays Australia survey summed contracting up as “a licence to practice anywhere”.
In a contracting role, you are more likely to be granted remote access and offered flexible working hours.
This is perfect if you have children, other commitments, or you simply want more time to pursue your hobbies and interests. Overall, IT contracting is great for achieving a better work-life balance.
Ability to take control of your career
The next advantage of IT contracting is the ability to take control of your own career, since as a contractor you pick and choose what assignments you take on, where and when.
This means that you can decide to select only the assignments that appeal to you. A colleague of mine spoke to a contractor who said: “What first attracted me to contracting was the independence it offered; I am able to choose the projects I want to do and the clients I want to work for”.
This sense of choice and control can only have a positive impact on your workplace wellbeing and engagement.
A quick career boost
The ability to develop your experience and skills also ranked highly. When you take on a project, you have a set time to achieve your goals.
Therefore, contractors often hit the ground running, rapidly upskilling themselves within the role with the objective of achieving this quick win in a few short months and adding another gold star to their CV.
Freedom from office politics
Feedback from contractors we spoke to also showed a preference to avoid the politics of climbing the corporate ladder. This includes sweating over performance appraisals and grafting extra hours in the hope your boss will notice and promote you at some point.
With IT contracting, you are there to do your job to the best of your ability and leave once the job is complete. Therefore, you can focus purely on the task in hand, rather than a long-term gameplan for moving upwards within an organisation.
Better still, if you don’t get on with someone, including your contract manager, you only have to bear it for the remainder of your contract.
As an IT contractor, you will also have the opportunity to develop strong professional relationships and make some valuable business connections.
In these instances, be smart and make sure you leave on good terms and keep in contact after your contract is up.
At the very least, you need this contact to give you a good reference, at the most – they may well provide a steady flow of contracting roles in the near future.
By Adam Shapley
Adam Shapley is the managing director for technology solutions at Hays ANZ. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays blog.
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