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Demand for IT contractors surges as ‘new normal’ begins to emerge

Posted: 27 May 2020

Demand for IT contractors surges as ‘new normal’ begins to emerge

Competition for IT contractors will intensify as more businesses rely on virtual workforces, predicts Eolas Recruitment.

Covid-19 has delivered a crash course in remote working for companies across Ireland many of whom never previously allowed their employees to work from home. When the lockdown was announced, Eolas Recruitment found that the speed at which businesses had to adapt their operating models increased demand for IT contractors. Managing director Vincent Flynn says this trend looks set to continue as working from home becomes part of the ‘new normal’.

“The pandemic has shown companies that working from home can give them greater flexibility. With an exit from the lockdown now beginning to come into view, it’s clear that a lot of the changes introduced in the last few weeks are here to stay. Already, hiring contractors with e-commerce and cybersecurity skills is on the increase. IT developers with experience of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are also in demand.”

Why IT contractors rather than permanent employees?

Asked why businesses are turning to contractors rather than hiring permanent employees, Vincent points to a recent study by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE) which shows that project freelancers add value by giving businesses flexible expertise beyond their permanent employees. Report author Andrew Burke says this enables innovation as well as helping businesses navigate peaks and troughs in demand. Although the research was conducted in the UK, it is equally relevant in Ireland.

“It’s not that daily rate IT contractors are being hired instead of permanent employees. It’s more about the flexibility and additional capacity that they add to a company’s existing workforce. While there has always been demand for IT contractors, what’s changing is the pace at which digitalisation is now taking place,” says Vincent.

Traditionally, contractors were used during times of rapid growth, in busy periods, or when companies needed to save on the costs associated with onboarding a permanent employee (e.g. training, benefits). Now, flexibility and urgency tend to be centre stage, but are not the only reason for the growing reliance on IT contractors, says Vincent.

“It’s a case of having to adapt. A workforce that blends permanent and contract workers gives companies the flexibility to cope with rapid change. The fact that more employees are now working from home is what’s driving the recent uplift in demand for e-commerce and cybersecurity contractors but new technologies are also transforming many businesses. Companies are hiring software developers and IT engineers on a contract basis for a broad range of specialist work. Examples range from assisting with AWS cloud projects, to configuring Dynamics CRM, implementing test scenarios and developing, supporting and optimising IT security solutions.”

Benefits of hiring IT contractors

“Urgency and flexibility are definitely incentives when it comes to hiring contractors,” agrees Senior Recruiter Peter Kirby.

“As well as being faster to find, experienced contractors usually require little or no induction and tend to be self-sufficient when it comes to problem-solving. That means they can hit the ground running faster than permanent employees and they usually require less supervision. So, hiring IT Contractors for short term assignments can be a great way to achieve the additional capacity or specialist skills that companies need.”

Cost advantages of hiring IT contractors

“Clients also need to keep in mind the cost advantages of using IT contractors,” adds Senior Recruiter Stephen Daly.

“There is no employer PRSI to worry about as the contractors are self employed. Clients also save on pensions, bonuses, holiday payments and so on. Those savings add up. A lot of Eolas Recruitment clients find it very cost-effective to use contractors, particularly for high-end IT roles.”

Managing IT contractors

When it comes to managing IT contractors, there are advantages to working with a specialist agency like Eolas Recruitment who have in-depth knowledge of the technical requirements of IT roles and have built a strong reputation for quality and reliability in the provision of IT contracting services.

“Currently we have around 200 daily rate IT contractors on our books supporting clients in various sectors including in some of the largest companies in Ireland. As well as making sure that contractors have the relevant skills and experience for a particular role, we also make sure that they are a good cultural fit for client’s business,” explains Senior Recruiter Nollaig Leydon.

“Attitude is very important. It’s not enough that the contractor is technically competent and self-reliant—they also need to be able to integrate well with your existing team. Individual company cultures vary and not every contractor is suitable for every business.”

At a practical level, an important advantage for clients is that IT contractors are self-employed which usually means a reduced administrative burden when compared to hiring permanent employees, explains Nollaig.

“Eolas Recruitment checks that each contractor has a properly set up Limited Company and is registered for tax in Ireland. We provide advice on market rates and let clients know when contractors are due an increase or deserve one. We also manage the payment process and make sure that time-sheets and invoices are streamlined and online. If contracts need to be extended, we can coordinate the extension times. One thing companies need to look after themselves is their onboarding process. We always advise clients to make sure they have a good onboarding policy in place, particularly where onboarding is being done remotely as is happening with some companies during the current pandemic.”

Compliance here really is key, and we have robust policies in place. We work with specialist umbrella company providers, such a Contracting PLUS, which allow your chosen contractor to be fully insured and onsite in a matter of hours.

How to find an IT contractor in Ireland

At the time of writing, Eolas Recruitment has over 200 active daily rate contractors on client placements in Dublin and across Ireland. With more than 20 years’ experience supporting businesses, the team understands the skills and requirements for technical IT roles. They provide support and advice on hiring contractors along with access to relevant skills.

To find out more about these contracting services and how Eolas Recruitment can help your business, click here and/or contact a member of the team.

 

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Fantastic Recruitment agency, Having availed of the services of Peter Kirby and Caoimhe Cronin, they swiftly procured the most suitable and promising opportunity for me within the credit and bank transactions industry. I couldn't be happier with their due diligence and professionalism. Highly recommend.
Eoin Browne
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11:08 25 Jan 22
Stephen from Eolas recruitment provided me a great opportunity which was unexpected, he was very professional and also reached out to me via phone calls even when I was not in the country. He timely scheduled my interviews and calls with himself keeping this process streamlined. I received a job offer for a consulting role and I highly appreciate the efforts made by Stephen on this.Kudos to Stephen and Eolas recruitment
aaishwarya sahu
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Stephen Coleman was really helpful and I was able to secure a great job with his assistance. Thanks
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I would highly recommend Eolas Recruitment to anyone looking to change jobs. Nicola reached out to me regarding a role she had and set up an interview. She gave me a huge amount of information regarding the company and advice on preparing for the interview. I luckily landed the job!! Huge thanks to Nicola for all your help!
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I had a really pleasant experience with Eolas. Peter Kirby contacted me with an opportunity that was perfect for my profile. During the entire process he and his colleague Caoimhe Cronin were super helpful, constantly checking in and keeping me updated. Thank you both for helping me take the next step in my career.
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The team in Eolas is very supportive and professional. They have helped immensely from setting up the interview till my onboarding with my new employer.
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Had the pleasure of dealing with Stephen Coleman in Eolas. His professionalism and hunger to help me find work was excellent. He understood what I was looking for and was back to me within the day with, what he felt would be a great fit.Turns out he was spot on! I went through a number of interviews for my current role and after each interview he called to see how it went and to get my feedback.I would have no hesitation in recommending Stephen and Eolas to anyone looking to work with a recruitment firm.
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09:37 05 Jan 22
All services were professional, accurate and fast. Nothing to add more apart from my big surprise.
Roman Kolyesnik
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12:27 03 Jan 22
Very professional organisation who have well established relationships with many international companies and Irish public bodies. I discovered they were well regarded by the companies that they deal with. Plenty of support provided for interviews for set up as contractor. Always seem to have a selection of interesting contracting roles.
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Stephen at Eolas really looked after me and helped me to an amazing opportunity. I felt that Eolas had my interest in mind and went the extra mile for me. Very happy.
Silas W
Silas W
17:12 21 Dec 21
I've used a few recruitment agencies and by far Eolas Recruitment has been by far the most helpful and professional I've come across.I was never waiting long to hear back about any queries I had and always quick to provide feedback when required. It was very informative and Nicola was a great help through the whole process.
Kunle Arogundade
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10:37 21 Dec 21
Brilliant experience with Eolas. Sean Prendergast contacted me with an opportunity. It was a smooth experience from that moment until the end when I landed the offer. Sean swiftly responded to any doubts or concerns I had during the process; made sure everything was transparent and unambiguous all the way through. I would happily recommend Eolas Recruitment for new career opportunities.
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Chris Kwong
17:08 20 Dec 21
I've had the pleasure in dealing with Stephen and the team at Eolas for a number of years now, both as a contractor and hiring manager. They are very professional, responsive and take time to listen and understand your role requirements. The advice and support provided by Stephen in a recent interview process really helped me secure the new role.I would highly recommend using Eolas if you're looking to change jobs or hire someone.
Eddie Carey
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10:48 20 Dec 21
I am more than happy to recommend Eolas Recruitment.They have assisted me in finding a new role in a very professional, caring and personal manner.The support in the complete end to end process has been exceptional.I would definitely recommend Eolas to anyone looking for a top class recruitment company.
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14:39 16 Dec 21
COVID lockdowns in Ireland and the UK might have made the enrolment process more challenging. It didn't! Even a last-minute change to the contract was seamless. Good communication and a simple yet precise set of instructions.What I look for in an employment agency is an invisible partner where everything just works. No trauma. No excuses. Just a bunch of people who know what needs to be done.
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I would highly recommend Eolas Recruitment. Sean reached out to me with a role that turned out to be a perfect fit. He knew all the right questions to ask and information to give to establish if the role was right for me at the very start. I found Sean honest, knowledgeable and professional from start to finish, making the process that bit easier. It was a pleasure dealing with Eolas and I would be more than happy to use their services again in the future.
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I was actively looking for and interviewing for a Product role and luckily I heard from Eolas recruitment on one of the product role that they were recruiting for their client. I applied for the role and I finally got it, now into the role one month, I am really enjoying my work and I am so thankful to Eolas for bringing me a right career opportunity at my door step, Eolas recruitment team worked with me at every stage of the interview process and made the experience very positive and seamlessly smooth. I definitely recommend their team and I look forward to working with them in the near future.
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Super prompt, effective communication, transparent and guiding, is what comes to mind while summarising my experience with Eolas Recruitment.It is rare to come by recruitment consultants with a genuine drive to ensure the candidate and the role (vacancy) are a perfect match. I had the pleasure of being guided by Peter Kirby and Caoimhe Cronin trough the hiring process for EY. I see my connection with Eolas to be a longterm and collaborative engagement.
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I just got my job with Sean Prendergast of Eolas recruitment. Sean is very professional and helpful during the process of interview. Thanks so much again for your hard work, Sean and Eolas recruitment!
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