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Pros and Cons of Contracting for IT workers

Posted: 10 Jun 2020

Pros and Cons of Contracting for IT workers

Ireland’s thriving tech sector provides plenty of permanent and contract opportunities. With no shortage of roles to choose from for good candidates, it is not unusual to have to weigh up the pros and cons of contracting, particularly when moving from entry-level roles and/or seeking career advancement.

Our experience is that while some individuals have a definite preference for the security and benefits afforded by good permanent roles, others value the flexibility and independence that contracting can provide.

This short article summarises some key contracting pros and cons to help you decide if being your own boss could be the right next move for you.

Pros of Contracting

  • By working for different organisations, contractors benefit from a variety of experience. This tends to broaden their perspective and can help them have a more balanced view because they are less likely to be swayed by office politics.
  • Working for a variety of organisations and on a variety of projects helps contractors acquire new skills. Indeed, contracting can sometimes deliver the opportunity to work with emerging and cutting-edge technologies. This experience enhances the contractor’s skillset which in turn can open further opportunities.
  • Contracting is an excellent way to build a professional network which can benefit a candidate’s future career whether they remain self-employed and/or decide to seek a permanent role.
  • Contracting can enhance an individual’s earning potential however it’s important to keep in mind the need to budget for gaps between contracts.
  • Working for a variety of organisations and gaining experience with different teams helps build confidence and can enhance soft skills like communication.
  • Independence. For individuals interested in starting their own business, contracting can be a good route to self-employment.

Cons of Contracting

  • For some individuals, the security of a permanent role provides peace of mind. Loss of this security is a definite con for some workers.
  • Perks. Contractors miss out on the non-pay benefits often associated with permanent roles such as staff pension schemes, private health insurance.
  • Holidays/Sick Pay. Contractors can also miss out on holiday/sick pay benefits.
  • Usually, while employers will invest in training for permanent employees, they tend not to provide training for external contractors.
  • Isolation. Working as a contractor can be lonely in some organisations, depending on the culture and circumstances that gave rise to the contracting role.
  • Pay gaps. While contracting is generally well paid for IT workers, there may be gaps between contracts. Contractors need to budget for these potential unpaid periods.
  • Professional services. Generally, it is advisable when self-employed to engage an accountant to manage your tax affairs. While there is a cost associated with this, accountancy fees can be claimed as a business expense when you run your own business.

What’s the bottom line?

Really, it comes down to individual preferences and circumstances. Contracting can be a good choice if you value your independence, want a particular type of lifestyle, and have the confidence to be self-employed. Short-term contracting can also help you acquire new skills that will enhance your ability to secure a permanent role in future.

If you decide to give contracting a go, Eolas Recruitment can help you find suitable roles. As a specialist recruiter in this sector, we have an extensive network of contacts and know not just where the current openings are but where openings may be coming up. To find out more, contact us for an informal chat or check out some current opportunities here.

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