From a Reader – Sackings and Rate Cuts
Most of this advice about Sackings and Rate Cuts applies to permies too.
We received this from a permie in comments after an article of ours.
Last year as soon I knew my employer was struggling, I started looking immediately, I didn’t wait.
I then had the luxury of cherry-picking interesting work.
I handed in notice three days before *half* the staff were cut.
They made cuts purely on a financial basis, the most expensive first, so they would have definitely chopped me.
There was NO loyalty towards the longest serving staff, no compassion for those who most needed the work (family etc).
Start Looking for New IT Contract
The key is to get the feelers out before you have to bail out fast.
You’re more likely to get a decent rate, retain seniority, and to be able to choose a nice place to work without a big commute.
I’ve interviewed people who are having to consider long commutes, starting in a junior role at lower pay because they have got stuck in a rut and gone rusty, and held on till the last moment.
Be First to Take Voluntary Redundancy
I also recommend if there’s voluntary redundancy in the offing, be the first to accept.
The first offers are more generous and you’ll get more time to find a new job.
There’s always more redundancies later, with less money and you’d be one of a bunch of people competing for the same job.
IT Contractor Comment
Just as the reader said that our original advice held true for permies too, much of this reader‘s advice holds true for contractors.
It‘s seldom that these things come out of the blue.
There are usually some leaks or there are some indications beforehand.
Indeed you could look at precedence and say to yourself, ‘during previous downturns this bank unilaterally cut contractors rates by 10% and there is a new downturn so it‘s possible they may do so again’.
Others may say to themselves ‘Other banks have cut rates by 10% but ours haven‘t – and they have done this kind of thing in previous downturns’.
Assume the Worst As Regard Sackings
So, when the market is like this contractors should assume that there may be a chance that they could suddenly hear that the bank they are working for are going to cut rates.
Therefore, as soon as there is uncertainty around, contractors should change their main focus from delivering their client‘s system, or their part of it, to putting their own interests first and looking for opportunities in the marketplace.
That‘s what the banks would do.
Be like the Five Wise Virgins in the bible and be prepared.
Start looking out for work. Don’t be like one of the Five Foolish Virgins.
If the sudden 10% rate cuts are announced, you may be in a position to have choice when giving just a few days or 24 hours to decide.
You may be in a position to say ‘Sorry, I‘ve got an offer of something else at my current rate (or above) and I‘ve decided to decline your offer of a 10% rate cut’.
Endangering IT Projects
If more contractors did this then the banks would be much less likely to do it.
They are banking on the short decision time giving contractors little time but to agree the 10% rate cut.
They are banking on not losing any of the ir contractors, or a minimum number anyway.
If it so happened that quite a few of their better contractors had alternatives and took them, endangering the success of their systems and projects then they would think twice of it.
10 Wise Virgins
PS – I remember working on a contract one time and was out one lunchtime for some barfood in a pub on Leicester Square in London which is on the edge of Soho.
There was a picture on the wall with the caption The 10 Wise Virgins.
However, someone had crossed out the 10 and put 9 in its place.
To conclude, when there are sackings and rate cuts about both IT Contractors and permanent employees need to be prepared. They need to be ahead of the game and not behind it.