Contractors more likely to stick around

IT contractors often stay longer in jobs than permanent staff, say recruitment consultants.

IT contractors often stay longer in jobs than permanent staff, say recruitment consultants.

Robert Walters consultant Lisa Williams says permanent IT staff are usually strongly focused on career development. They are always on the lookout for new positions, so move jobs frequently. Contractors, however, are less career-focused and usually happy to stay where they are as long as they are well paid and use the latest technology.

Williams says companies pressure contractors to take permanent roles as the cost of a long-term contractor could be phenomenal. For the contractor, though, this inevitably means a cut in pay. "Contractors get paid on average about 30% more than permament staff when all benefits including holidays, superannuation and sick leave are taken into account. However, as they are not permanent head-count, they miss out on perks like training," she says.

Walters advises companies wanting staff for less than a year to employ contractors, but say it is cheaper to have permanent staff for longer jobs.

Christine Fitchew of Candle IT & T Recruitment agrees contractors are less career-focused, adding that some stay in the same roles for a couple of years. But with the passing of the Employment Relations Act, contractors may have to move around more often as firms try to stop the possibility of them gaining rights as permanent employees, she says.

One IT contractor says he has stayed with his public-sector employer for more than two years, saying in that time, his role has changed many times, as the local body constantly changes its IT department. Some six other staff have also stayed a similar length of time.

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