‘THE PROS AND CONS OF IT CONTRACTING’
If you are involved in the world of IT then you may have tried to assess the pros and cons of IT contracting. When working in an IT based role, it can be tricky to decide whether taking on a permanent IT role, or if contract work is more beneficial. Like most occupations there are definitely benefits to both roles.
I have worked as both a contractor, and as a permanent employee. Here are some of the pros and cons of being an IT Contractor.
Pros of IT contracting
Your work has lots of flexibility:
When it comes to IT contracting, you get the option to be your own boss. This gives you lots of flexibility to work when you want to. Unlike a permanent job, you are free to take holidays at any time of the year. You can also take ad hoc days off for special events.
It gives you the chance to make progress:
Permanent jobs mean that you can end up doing the same thing, day in – day out. As an IT contractor you are more likely to work on a variety of projects, gain experience with different technologies and be exposed to different working environments. This could help you make progress in your career more quickly.
Pay is usually better:
Depending on your situation – running your own business or using an umbrella company usually pays better than being a permanent employee. This is because there is normally opportunity to take on more work, charge clients more per job, or pick and choose your work.
There are still some tax incentives :
Unfortunately tax benefits are not as good as they used to be. Yet IT contractors who use an umbrella company and set up a limited company can still save a considerable amount on tax.
Less Office Politics
When you are a contractor you are not always at a company long enough for office politics to become an issue. You are more of an individual than being part of a team so the same resentments and jealousies don’t arise. Of course different jealousies and prejudices can exist (see cons of IT contracting), but you are generally isolated from this to a greater extent. You are not usually involved in the same number of meetings that permanent employees have to attend. This allows you to focus more on your role and also keeps you away from encountering issues that permanent members of staff have to contend with.
Cons of IT contracting
Finding enough work out there:
It can be challenging to find enough work to keep you busy, especially in a hard financial time. As an IT contractor you will need to find and secure an ongoing stream of contracts to ensure you continue to earn enough to make a living. This may come in the form of signing onto agencies or doing your own marketing.
Downtime between contracts:
If you are not working then you don’t get paid. Therefore not having a busy day can sometimes bring on a bit of panic. This is true for taking holidays too. Although you can have more flexible holidays as a contractor, you get paid for your holidays in a permanent role. There is also no safety net if you need to take time off for illness either: Making it a risky choice if you are pre-disposed to health conditions.
Skills and development:
Although as an IT contractor, you can be exposed to more jobs and therefore progress more quickly. Sometimes it can mean that you get stuck in a rut. By being around other individuals doing your job, you learn new methods and techniques to use. Being an IT contractor, you might not aspire to do any training. Therefore crucial skills and developments in the industry could potentially leave you behind.
Jealousy and resentment can build up with permanent members of staff because they are not making as much money as you, or because they are envious they have not taken a risk to go into contracting too. You can also be given the worst desk in a dark corner away from other members of staff. Depending on where you work, contracting can also be a lonely experience, and you will need to be mentally strong to cope with the differing demands you have compared to being a permanent member of staff.
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