Contract versus Permanent Positions in IT – What’s Right For You?

Deciding to ditch your permanent job and start contracting is a big decision.  It takes risks but also could provide you with significant gains.  The same is true of stepping into a permanent position from the contracting world.  There’s not one right role for everyone.  Before taking either position, you should give serious consideration to the positives and negatives of both types of roles.

Below, we’ve outlined both contract and permanent positions and listed out the advantages and disadvantages to each.

Contract

Advantages

The main advantage of working as a contractor is getting access to a multitude of experiences with different companies, industries and technologies.  Having a wide variety of experience enhances your marketablility across a wider array of companies.  Another benefit of being a contractor is having more flexibility.  Contracting allows you to work heads down for a long stretch or take an extended leave if you need a break.   Lastly, many contract employees experience higher wages on a per hour basis than their permanent counterparts.  As a contractor, you’re not salaried, so you are only paid for the hours you work; which in many IT projects, could be significantly over 40 a week, resulting in a higher pay check.

Disadvantages

While all of the advantages of contracting sound great, it does not come without its drawbacks.  The main downside is the starting and stopping of new contracts and the resurgence of the reoccurring job search.  Sometimes, finding a new home can take longer than you might expect.  Contracting takes planning for both your personal finances and your timing.  Another disadvantage of contracting is that you don’t receive the traditional company benefits such as PTO, health insurance and contributing to a 401k.

 

Permanent

Advantages

When working a permanent position with a company, you gain more security and stability than in contracting.  There’s no “falling off” date for you, and by working primarily at one company, you get comfortable with the environment, your coworkers and leadership.  This also allows you the opportunity to prove yourself and move up the corporate ladder if that is your career plan.  Where contractors might get more experience working at various companies, permanent positions get the advantage of promotions and building a solid reputation at their organization.  Lastly, permanent employees receive the advantage of a benefits package, retirement plans and PTO.

Disadvantages

When working at a single company over a period of years, you gain experience only in that industry and the technologies within that organization.  And while you might become an expert in these areas, your lack of varying experiences might be hinder your ability to land that next opportunity.  “Job hopping” is no longer seen as a resume killer by IT Managers; but instead is viewed as an opportunity to have a highly versatile employee.  Additionally, while being paid hourly is a bonus for contractors, most permanent employees are paid a salary, meaning that those extra hours at the office will provide no upside to the bottom line of the W2.

 

Whether you are considering contract or permanent, the good news is that the IT industry is only growing, while unemployment remains low.  Most candidates shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a new position, whatever the type may be.  When looking and contemplating a contract or permanent role, consider our pros and cons above, and perform your own research while considering all opportunities.   A trusted recruiter is also a valued resource and can help you with the decision that’s right for you.

Once you’ve decided, be sure to check out IDR’s open contract and permanent IT positions at https://www.idr-inc.com/talent/job-listings/.