Pack In IT Contracting
Should you pack in IT Contracting?
Written by reader ‘Insincere‘ in the Comments section.
I think that going from IT contractor to permie would be a huge shock but here are some thoughts and comments on the current ‘IT recovery’. Is it time to pack in IT Contracting?
1: Salaries Rising
There is a huge increase in permie roles currently, especially for Technical Architects and Business Analysts, with the permie salaries on the rise. In recent weeks many firms have noticeably upped their permie TA salary range from 45-60K plus package to 70K and upwards plus package.
This is because of the huge amount of work now going on or about to begin. One consultancy I know is looking for 120 TAs between now and March. Others are looking for Technical Architects in the numbers of hundreds also.
However, very few of these roles are filtering down to contracts. It might be a time to pack in IT Contracting. The autumn will be a decisive time. However, I am already seeing a big reluctance from many of the consultancies to hire contract staff. They think, wrongly, that contractors eat into their precious end profit.
It is also, perhaps, that TAs now seem occupy such a crucial area in a business that companies simply want TAs ‘on-board’ as staff.
However, I will say it again, these roles do not appear to be filtering down to contracts currently.
2: Benefits Reducing
The benefits of contracting reduce all the time. So, I now wonder whether the benefits of trying to avoid IR35 is truly worth it plus all the other hassle that a contractor has. Some of these are endlessly chasing contracts, moving about the country like a ‘gypsy’, dealing with agents, dealing with tax and legal issues, etc, etc. Is it time to pack in IT Contracting?
The regime that contractors find themselves in taxation-wise and legally will only get more difficult in the years ahead.
Yes, if you get yourself on a good long-term contract, you might end up retiring from it. So, for that reason, I would not be concerned about IR35 if I knew the project was going to last for years and years.
But you might end up on a better long-term financial ‘gig’ if you work for a blue chip. You could be a permie who has actually all the ‘benefits’ such as holidays, sick cover, pension, endless meetings, chats to people in the canteen that fill a quarter of your day.
In other words, a good ‘gig’ for a lot less stress.
3: More Security
The current ‘IT recovery’ might last 10 years or it might last 6 months. The global economy seems to be teetering between boom and bust not sure which way to go. It could be time to pack in IT Contracting.
If the market falls then we contractors will take the pain again. Many contractors who I know who managed to jump ship before the last bust have earned very good permie salaries in the last couple of years whilst most contractors living standards plummeted.
Take a look at non-IT jobs also. It will surprise you what many apparently stress-free and easy – on the surface – jobs are now paying in many other areas, especially the Public Sector. That makes me think it is time to pack in IT Contracting.
In my local paper last week the lowest paid permie jobs were all for IT staff whilst the ‘Five-A-Day’ fruit counsellors, social workers, nature reserve wardens, etc, were on salaries better, and often MUCH better, than the IT ones.
No constant learning curve, no expectation to be a guru in MS version NEW X.X when it only came out 24 hours earlier and no worry about being the fall guy if the Messaging system or the VOIP falls over and thousands of people can’t communicate.
There has to be a balance to Life that gives us Quality of Life and the never-ending learning, the stress, the constant battle to find a new contract or to extend the current one, dealing with agents, (Who do not act like proper agents at al.), the moving around, living out of a suitcase, etc, etc, is not worth it as you see the years go by and Time passing.
Well, those are some thoughts on where we are currently in the IT cycle.
At the end of the day it is all about finding your niche.
I have friends in the PS working for Government departments who are paid good rates. They appear to do very little work and who get contracts renewed again and again.
On the other hand I know people who work for the big five consultancies who are poorly paid. They have to fight for renewals sometimes on a monthly basis. They are so stressed out it is health and life affecting.
However, bottom line, contracting has changed fundamentally. However, I don’t think many IT contractors have realised this as of yet.
Is it time to pack in IT Contracting?
Yes, if I could give it up tomorrow I would.