Make More, Live More, Stay Secure
Why companies and IT professionals are turning to contract work
Rapid technological development is not only revolutionizing the way we do business, it’s also transforming the way we manage talent. Companies have recognized the benefits offered by cloud-based services, social enterprise tools, big data, and other cutting edge technologies. Now, the race is on to see who can leverage them to gain a competitive edge.
Unfortunately, those businesses are running up against a national talent shortage. But what’s bad news for employers might be good news for employees.
To meet demand, the outsourcing of IT jobs has skyrocketed. A recent survey showed 48% of IT decision-makers saying that they will be hiring more contractors than full-time workers in the next 12-18 months. While we think those numbers may be a little unrealistic, they do demonstrate the changing nature of the IT industry.
Less overhead, less commitment, and less time spent hiring allows companies to respond quickly to technological needs, making contractors an appealing option. So how is that good for IT professionals?
Contractors (AKA Hired Guns) leverage demand for higher rates, flexibility, experience
We were a little surprised when we started seeing more and more full-time employees interested in leaving their jobs for contract work. Yet the opportunity to earn a higher hourly rate and more often than in direct roles work remotely is evidently appealing one.
For employees looking to increase their income and/or their flexibility, contracting can be a welcome change from a full-time job that allows them to pull in more money and spend more time with their families.
Junior level professionals are also turning to contract work in droves. Not only is it readily available, it also provides an avenue for gaining valuable experience by working on diverse projects. Later on, that can often be parleyed into a job – especially with temp-to-hire contracts becoming increasingly common.
But what about job security?
What initially surprised us about this trend was the seemingly high level of risk that candidates were taking in leaving the security full-time jobs behind. With running unemployment rates for technologists hovering around 4%, that perception may be off the mark.
Demand is approaching the .COM era level for software and I.T. Professionals. In the current climate, contracting might actually be a viable opportunity to increase total income on a long-term, sustainable level.
While the lifetime temporary software engineer has until now been the minority, we may soon see that path be the norm in the near future.
What would it take for you to consider taking a contract opportunity over a full-time job? Let us know in the comments below!
September 29, 2011:
No, this is not about Mobile applications and the next Angry Bird version ;-)
Recently my father and I took what is turning out to be an annual Harley ride into Northern California. On the ride, while listening to the historical tour guide provided by my father via our headsets, it occurred to me how far the dialogue on the national theatre of economics and political rhetoric has shifted away from working hard. As we rode through the countryside, I noticed the things we often take for granted now. Incredible engineering accomplishments like aqueducts’ diverting water from northern to southern California, railroads and tunnels carved through the Feather River canyons, power-lines, and of course the very roads we were motorcycling along that help bring goods to the remote towns scattered across rural America. These accomplishments took an amazing amount of work and vision and are only a few examples of the great accomplishments people in our society made in the past and in modern times of technology with software and electronics.
Today, we constantly hear how evil business, capitalism, and the free market is. It continues with how we need to take from the rich and give to the poor. More focused on accusing others vs. how to do more for yourself and those you care about. Is it any surprise then that entrepreneurialism has been on the decline in the last 20+ years here in the U.S. and why small businesses have not helped lead the way out this time around. With this decline also goes the job creation
. 99.7% of all employers in the U.S. are small businesses (entrepreneurs exercising their freedom to take risk and pursue their dreams) and are simultaneously the biggest contributors to job creation. Most, if not all, would agree with a social safety net to catch those who stumble or hit hard times but why are we focusing on that and class warfare? Taking from someone and giving it someone else is the wrong conversation for job creation and growth. A generation of children has been taught that business, capitalism, and a free market is bad and now they are entering the workforce as the boomers begin their exodus and GenX is trying to hire motivated and engaged employees. Sadly, I believe this comes at a time when the playing-field has never been more level and ripe, historically, for citizens of all races and gender to better their human condition regardless of what the media tells you.
It made me curious whether as a society we agree anymore that having the personal freedom to do the work we want and reaping the rewards of that labor is a fundamental component of being in a free country? Today, I am often surprised how little our educators, national politicians and economists spend time talking about the free market and recognizing the wonder that it is, and what it has accomplished for our country. At the root of a free market is “freedom.” We have to remember that statistically it takes lots of small businesses to eventually grow medium and big companies. See other stats here
on small business contribution to our economy.
The ability of citizens within a society to improve their situation is what academics and economists often reference as mobility. Do contributing members within a given society have the ability to move and improve their own economic situation based on their individual drive, skills, abilities, competencies, etc.? Our government has historically been pursuing the creation of ‘as level ‘ a playing field as is possible for people to do that. However, I fear our government as a whole has lost its way. The drum beat is wealth redistribution and closer to Marxist ideology than key attributes of individual and personal freedom espoused by our founding fathers rooted in the combination of John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government
and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations
economic philosophy . We are moving in the wrong direction. That direction unfortunately is towards a massively in debt centralized government and not the mobility and job creating society we started out building so many years ago. I hope that as a society we don’t lose future mobility for our children and the next generations by losing sight of the proven values of opportunity, hard work, risk-taking, and reward.