The IT sector is becoming increasingly synonymous with contracting in the UK. All companies need IT support to stay current, but rather than hiring a full-time team of experts, it makes better financial sense for organisations to draft in the people who have the specific skills necessary to work on projects as they arise.
Outsourcing IT support in this way is becoming much more common, both on a retainer and a project basis. Contracting is big business for IT specialists, and gives them the opportunity to tackle a variety of projects, big and small, and it they do a good job, to end up as the preferred source of IT expertise for the clients they serve.
Why companies hire IT contractors
Hiring a full-time IT professional might seem necessary, but once an organisation considers factors like a full-time competitive salary, training costs, recruitment costs, tax, insurance, desk space, holiday pay and all the other costs associated with employee on boarding, contractors can seem like a much more sensible solution.
The speed at which the IT sector moves makes it particularly suited to contracting, as keeping staff up-to-date with the latest developments in both hardware and software is painfully expensive and time consuming.
IT issues are so varied and complex, that it’s often best to go straight to an expert as and when they arise. As all companies and organisations become more reliant on IT solutions for all facets of their business, contracting in the sector will continue to be a lucrative career.
Finding work as an IT contractor
Finding work as an IT contractor is a similar discipline to finding work in any other sector – who you know is absolutely key to your success. Get your name out there and attend networking events in person throughout your catchment area. All organisations are constantly in need of expert IT services, and you should be front-of-mind among the people who run projects and can make hiring decisions.
Maintaining a strong LinkedIn profile and sharing your knowledge on the latest IT developments online is also beneficial, but the personal touch is what is most likely to land you substantial contracts in IT.
IT contracting is hugely varied – from tech support, project managers and IT securities experts, who often work in-house, to designers and programmers who can often work on a remote and freelance basis. Some IT contractors take on multiple projects in the same time period. Time and project management skills are key, and keeping clients informed of your capacity and ability to deliver can help you to manage expectations and build a good reputation in the industry.
Sometimes outsourcing part of a project to a sub-contractor or an offshore team can release some of your capacity, providing flexibility and allowing you to take on more projects. However, it is very important to select high quality, proven sub-contractors you are confident to work with, to ensure high-quality output and avoid jeopardising the all-important client relationship.