IT contractors are helping Australia’s chief information officers get their digitisation projects over the line, according to a new report.
Recruiter Robert Half spoke to 160 local tech chiefs with two in three (66 per cent) saying they were hiring contractors to work on their digital transformations with 78 per cent agreeing that contract workers provide a solution to the tech skills shortage.
The recruiter quoted the SunSuper Australian Job index which found that contingent jobs represent almost a third of all job ads and have shown a 4.9 per cent increase in demand across industries in 2019 to surpass permanent vacancies.
Employing IT staff on a project basis provides access to niche, low supply skills such as blockchain, natural language processing or full-stack development as required which can offset the higher salaries these sought-after specialist skills command, the recruiter said.
Meanwhile, in demand roles include IT security specialist, project manager, business intelligence analyst and systems engineer, according to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide.
Robert Half director, Andrew Morris, said professionals with these skills are well-positioned to turn this demand into competitive job opportunities and should genuinely consider if transitioning to contract work is the next logical step in their career.
Further, contract roles offer flexible work opportunities and exposure to a variety of projects and industries. This is particularly attractive to younger generations of tech workers for whom the ‘career for life’ mentality is outmoded.
“IT professionals across all age groups are recognising the advantages of contracting,” said Morris.
“However, millennials are typically more comfortable with the variable nature of contract work than older generations. Gen Y technology professionals are also attracted to the flexible nature of contracting and the opportunity for accelerated career growth and are often less concerned about climbing the corporate ladder within the same organisation.”
Morris said becoming a contractor is something that needs to be carefully considered.
“But the upside is that contract work helps IT professionals become more desirable to employers as it provides exposure to the most advanced IT projects and the latest technology trends, as well as helps the professional gain experience across different teams and industries.
“However, while the contract work is in high demand and offers many benefits, professionals looking to transition away from permanent employment should also take into consideration the potential reduction of job security, loss of non-financial benefits, and limited opportunities for advancement within an organisation that contractors may encounter,” he said.
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