November 06, 2012

Hiring in the IT sector has been growing rapidly in the past year, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IT jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020. More specifically, IT contract job growth has been on the rise.  In a 2011 survey, Staffing Industry Analysts found that companies expected to bolster their use of contract workers by 26 percent over the next two years. So why are IT contractors becoming a major part of an IT department’s hiring strategy? Why are these workers a valuable commodity? Let’s take a look at the reasons to hire an IT contractor.

1.       They’re Cost-Effective

While contractors tend to be paid more per hour, the cost to hire a full-time employee is more expensive because hiring an employee goes beyond salary. According to TechRepublic’s analysis, “expenses such as training, medical/dental/life insurance, paid vacation, sick time, profit sharing, 401K matching, worker’s compensation, and several others depending on your company, all must be factored in to the analysis.” The cost of employer-provided benefits can be anywhere between 20 to 30 percent of salary, or more. The Harvard Business Review also points out the flexibility contracted staffing provides. “Not only can organizations derive a cost savings from adjusting staff sizes up and down based on business requirements, but they are also able to control the wages paid for particular tasks by using contingent talent on a project basis.”

2.       They Can Innovate

New talent of any kind can bring fresh ideas and knowledge from outside the company. Companies can leverage these new ideas to learn about new methods, practices and styles. Facilitating knowledge transfer from these contracted employees to full-time workers can motive them, inspire them, or make them look at a challenge from a new perspective. By hiring IT contractors, an enterprise can more easily bring these new ideas to the workplace.

3.       They Offer Flexibility

This might be the biggest reason companies are going with contracted staff right now. The leeway employers have with contractors is key, especially with the uncertainty of the economy. IT managers may need the ability to find staff for a specific task or project and have the ability to move on without the time-consuming process of finding an employee that’s not only a fit for that task, but a fit for the company for the foreseeable future. Contractors also have specific expertise in the area you need, so the time normally spent training is either reduced or removed completely. They can come in hitting the ground running and get the job done when you need it.

4.       They’re Happy and Engaged

IT contractors are not just mindless, cost-efficient robots, they’re people too. And, as it turns out, they’re people who are happy with their work. According to InformationWeek, 71 percent of IT contractors are highly satisfied with their lot, up 13% from 2011. As many organizational studies have shown, a satisfied employee makes a much more productive one. Gallup quantified the link between employee feelings and corporate outcomes, reporting that lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $300 billion in the U.S. annually.

What is the biggest advantage that contractors provide? What are the key factors that go into deciding between hiring full-time or contracted staff? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted By: James Sweeney

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