Is IT Contracting Right for You? Have You A choice?

Is IT Contracting Right for You? Have You A choice?

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IT Contracting Advice

IT contracting has recently been gaining popularity considering the market situation and is increasing people’s willingness to jump on board with contracting opportunities. However we’ve always come across a variety of questions from candidates on whether contracting is beneficial or not for them and their career path. In last week’s blog, Cathay Wojnicki spoke about a few tips for new contractors, however the list below covers a few more topics that might be helpful and might set you up on a path to a successful contracting career.

How to set yourself up as a contractor?

How to be a contractor

There are numerous ways to get set up as a contractor, firstly and perhaps more popular with people on less than €200 per day would be working for an umbrella company as a PAYE Employee. It’s a very simple solution with many specialist accountants offering this solution.  There is also the option of setting up your own company and invoicing directly. It will be important to research regulations, be aware what responsibilities you have as a company director and get a great accountant. Someone well used to working with contractors. You will need specific insurance and bank accounts. So a good accountant will make these seamless and really straight forward.  A good payroll provider is worth their weight in gold. 


Do contract jobs look bad on a resume?

Not at all, clearly mark that you were working on a contract basis. There might be some companies out there that might have issues with attrition or looking to hire a key management role and looking to address it, so adding a contractor who might have had 3 contracts in 4 years might concern them. In general it’s not looked poorly on. 


Do contract employees get paid for time off?

Taking time off from work for contractors

The simple answer to this question is no. As a contractor you are paid for the time you work. However it’s not unusual to see as much as a 30-50% increase in your payment on a permanent equivalent or peer. You should also note that you would not be able to claim any company benefits either. 


Is it better to be an employee or an independent contractor?

Being an independent contractor comes with some great perks. You get paid more for example. Between contracts you should have prepared for time off while seeking your next assignment.  Since you will not be on the company payroll, in general there are tax benefits. As an employee, you more than likely get better career advancement opportunities, benefits packages, paid leave and a little more comfort in the role. 


What is the level of risk involved in moving from permanent job to contract?

When considering your next move, personally I would speak to a payroll provider first. Get a solid idea what to expect. If you are by nature a risk averse person, I'd leave it and stick with a permanent role. If you want to climb the company ladder, again contracting is not for you. 

Contractors in general are specialists in a specific space. Highly skilled and continue to up skill between contracts in that space so they are always ahead of the curve. This razor sharp focus of a contractor can charge a premium to companies who need that specific skill. So if you are a skill specific type of person, a little more of a risk taker and a good networker, contracting is a terrific option for you.


How frequently do companies take on contractors and in what sectors?

Company hiring plans

In some sectors it will be that bit easier to add a contractor, in others not so much, gaining access to sensitive code or access to a secure network is perhaps a stretch too far for companies. So the work that a contractor can do can be restrictive but focused. I have spoken to numerous leaders within the IT sector who are looking for ways around this to ease the pressure on the current IT engineering teams who are overworked. 

In some sectors, it’s individuals themselves driving the change, but in others, such as tech, companies are opting to staff whole functions with contract workers. They have specific projects that can be completed, you don’t have to look much further then Facebook’s content moderation that was well documented in the news over the last few years.  Another example is Google who has about 7,000 employees in Ireland but it is estimated that about half of these are contractors. So contracting is not unusual in both good and bad times in an economy. 


Is there much of a difference between a contract and a permanent role?

I am also asked a lot about the difference between the two? The reality is and not all circumstances will have a different coloured badge, you might have limited access, some of the tasks might be laborious on occasion.  It’s important when interviewing to ask about the daily tasks, what is the access like and as much project details you can get. The projects can be hugely beneficial to your career, I have worked with IT Project Managers, Network Engineers, etc., who have worked on excellent projects as a contractor with limited access but it didn’t take away from the challenge. 

Making the move from a safe(ish) permanent role to an IT contract or any contract can be a little nerve racking but if the project feels right, the company feels right, the recruitment agency feels right and you are ready and want to leave your current job; taking that step is easier than you think. Just be aware of a few pitfalls and remember to network. Get talking to good well informed Recruitment Consultants, they are out there trust me. You might have to navigate around a few not so well informed ones. We are in the type of market that allows IT contractors to prosper, take on really interesting projects and work with interesting and talented people. 

If you are thinking contracting is scary, surround yourself with the right people, good recruitment consultants, good payroll providers. Contracting allows great flexibility, it is a great way to make money and a lifestyle perhaps you are craving. Contracting with stability is possible and is in fact an industry trend that gained more backing since COVID.  

If you are interested in contracting and would like to have a chat, please do reach out to me or drop your question in the contact form below. You can also browse through our jobs page to find something that suits. On the flip side of that, if you are considering taking on a contractor and not sure where to start, happy to talk you through IT contracting and everything associated with it. 

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