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Percentage of Self-Employed IT Workers Increasing 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-take-off-your-pajamas-again dept.
dcblogs writes "The tech industry is seeing a shift toward a more independent, contingent IT workforce. About 18% of all IT workers today are self-employed, according to an analysis by Emergent Research, a firm focused on small businesses trends. This independent IT workforce is growing at the rate of about 7% per year, which is faster than the overall growth rate for independent workers generally, at 5.5%. A separate analysis by research firm Computer Economics finds a similar trend. This year, contract workers make up 15% of a typical large organization's IT staff at the median. This is up from a median of just 6% in 2011, said Longwell. The last time there was a similar increase in contract workers was in 1998, during the boom and the run-up to Y2K remediation efforts."
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Percentage of Self-Employed IT Workers Increasing

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  • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:40PM (#45768415)

    It is an occupational hazard. When you are good at your job, have a decent architecture, and have at lest the bare minimum of resources, you can pretty often keep things running reasonably smoothly to external appearances. Since things aren't obviously wrong people won't complain, they think you have enough, and think your job is "easy" since nothing big seems to go wrong. What they don't see is you scrambling behind the scenes to compensate for the lack of resources, catching problems and the occasional disaster before they happen, and wishing you had one more person so that you could finally get some real vacation time in. They will be deaf to your resource requests. Then they outsource you and are shocked at the bill.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:57PM (#45768537)

    No training, so people build labs at home.
    No laptop, so people BYOD.
    Stupid corporate standard desktops, so people do VirtualBox/Cygwin/VMWare/etc/etc
    Nobody hires FTEs because of (insert reason here) so people often contract anyway with middlemen pimps.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:05PM (#45768585) Homepage Journal this day in age, there is no such thing as a job for life anymore, and there is virtually no such things a loyalty from a company towards the employee any longer.

    So, I figure, if you're gonna have the job stability of a contractor, you might as well be a contractor and at least get the bill rate that goes along with it.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:08PM (#45768611)

    It's rarely for cost savings on the company's side; contractors are almost always more expensive when you've added up the overhead on both sides. Among other things, contractors typically bill at higher rates, and also bill for commute and travel time: if they send a contractor on a business trip, the entire time he or she is on the plane, in the security line, etc. is billable at full engineering rates, while salaried employees don't get any overtime for that.

    The main budgetary advantage of contractors is that they're much easier to flex as staffing needs vary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:32PM (#45768841)

    Every IT professional's career should go through the following life-cycle:

    Employee -> hourly contractor -> freelance/small business ( -> medium/large business)

    Which mirrors the typical human life-cycle:

    Childhood -> college -> adulthood ( -> own family)

    Full-time employment is like childhood, your employer/parents take care of you and in return they control a large portion of your life.

    Hourly contracting is like going to college, you still have a lot of constraints on your life but fewer and you have to take care of yourself. In college you have sex, as a contractor you get a big fat pay cheque.

    Freelance/small business is like post-graduation life, you're now responsible for every aspect of your business/life and in return you gain a lot of independence, if only you had time to take advantage of your independence, hah.

    And if you're lucky, and by that I mean really unlucky, you partner up with a few others and grow your business and start taking care of others. At this point someone will say "you have your own company? Wow, must be nice to be your own boss!" This is your cue to assume the fetal position and sob uncontrolably, again, then ask yourself "is it really worth it?" Damned right it is!

  • by Timmy D Programmer (704067) on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:36PM (#45768883) Journal
    For many IT people in the US the only reason they don't venture out on their own is concerns over health care coverage. Now that it's possible to purchase affordable care on their own this will no longer be a major obstacle.
  • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Monday December 23, 2013 @06:21PM (#45770185) Homepage Journal

    More importantly, working as an employee often means 60 hour weeks without overtime.

    Contracting, I was always paid straight-rate overtime. Not time and a half so as to gouge the customer, but at least compensated for my time. I found contracting kept me in a better headspace about work, too -- I never counted on the company to keep me around. So while my co-workers would be all freaked out at being downsized, I'd just shrug my shoulders and move to the next job with no hard feelings on either side.

I'm a Lisp variable -- bind me!