The coming Age of the IT Contractor
Reasons for IT Contractors to look forward to the future
1. The Great Depression Mark II never happened. This was supposed to be even worse, according to some pundits, than the Great Depression of the 1930s when the American economy fell by 30%, unemployment went to 25% and international trade dropped by between half and two thirds.
It now looks as if we are over the worst and can look forward to the world economies and businesses growing again and hiring contractors.
2. The Downturn Hasn‘t Hit Contractors Badly. Of course contractors out of work won‘t like hearing this but the current downturn didn‘t hit IT Contractors very badly at all compared to the downturns of the early nineties and early noughties.
Unlike the one at the start of this decade the boom and bust didn‘t happen in our sector like it did last time with the bust of the dotcom boom and the end of Y2K.
This one was a banking and construction boom and bust. Indeed IT has been one of the best sectors in the downturn.
3. The economy has started to rise. The pundits are saying that we are now coming out of recession. That means we are over the worst.
The job board stats are showing jobs ads rising. They are also showing rates starting to increase again.
4. There won‘t be another downturn for years and years. You seldom get downturns coming one after the other. So, the odds are heavily that IT Contractors can look forward to years of better opportunities and increasing rates.
5. Early stages of recovery are good for Contractors. Companies lay permies off during a downturn. Even as the economy rises they are still laying off permies because of previous plans that they made to do so to cope with the downturn.
With an upturn coming and more work needed in their IT systems they cannot simply replace those people after they have been made redundant. It‘s not legally possible.
The reason that they can make them redundant is that they are making the job redundant.
Therefore they turn to contractors.
So, the early stages of recover, the stage we are in now, is good for IT Contractors.
6. IT Contractors no longer badly hit by downturns. When the tide goes out it affects everybody. So IT Contractors cannot avoid the consequences of a downturn. However, in this downturn IT permies and contractors have been among the least hit by it – especially contractors.
It appears that companies now don‘t see contractors and permies as a cost to be lopped off in a downturn but as a cost cutting enabler who need to be kept on in a downturn to help them cut their other costs.
They are also coming to the mass conclusion that, in order to stay ahead of the game, they cannot just shut up shop on their computer systems for a couple of years and then start up again when the economy recovers or they will find themselves a couple of years behind their competitors.
There are few recession proof jobs but it looks like IT Contracting may be coming close to being one if this downturn is anything to go by.
7. Paying IT professionals is the best Return On investment a Company Can Make. I hope that our readers don‘t get sick of me reminding them of this but a survey of top companies, a couple of years ago, showed that the best Return On Investment (ROI) a company could make was spending on IT.
For every pound they spent on IT they got an ROI of £4.
Multiply your rate by 4 and that is approximately what you are worth to your client.
Companies are realising this and therefore will continue to pump money into their IT systems.
8. This is the Information Age. This is our time. It is reckoned that in the Information Age the biggest competitive advantage that a company can have is access to good management and business information.
It is computer systems that will enable this access to good data and information.
This is what we sell. This is what we provide.
This is the Age of the IT Contractor.
9. Companies are looking for a more flexible Employment Model. Companies are increasingly looking to keep just a basic number of permanent IT employees. They are seeking greater flexibility so they are taking on more and more contractors. The days of using mostly permanent staff in the IT department, with just the big companies employing contractors, has gone.
That is just too inflexible.
Most companies of any size now use contractors and will continue to hire more and more of them.
So, in upturns in the economy companies see contractors as enablers of business competitive advantage.
In a downturn they see IT Contractors as enablers of cost cutting.
This truly is the Age of the Contractor.
The Future is Bright.
The Future is Us.
Be ye of good hope and good cheer for the future!