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US CIOs opting for IT contractors over hiring full-time staff

Sharon Florentine | Dec. 3, 2013
The Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a dark picture of the IT job market, but theres a bright spot -- CIOs are hiring more skilled IT contractors.

He adds that this trend toward contractors instead of full-time hires isn't just a fluke, especially as enterprises cut back on benefits and perks for full-time employees and move toward a contractor-heavy workforce.

"This is going to continue to be the norm for the next few years, I believe," Cannone says. "We're actually expecting that, next year, the number of IT contractors in the market will double, based on the increased number of contractors we have signing up with us," he says.

Don't Expect to Save Money

While companies can save money by increasing their contract workforce, says Mondo's McGarrity, there's a caveat. Many IT contractors have left the full-time workforce by choice, or are working as contractors because they're unable to find full-time employment. But that doesn't mean they're less skilled or less desirable; in fact, they could have deep and broad skillsets, says McGarrity.

"It's a common misconception; in some cases, it's not any cheaper to outsource," she says. "And while companies certainly can save by hiring on a contract basis, there's still expenditure. What we're seeing, is the demand from clients for a much more mature, deep skillset and greater experience across multiple platforms," McGarrity says.

These types of employees are much harder to find, and much more expensive, and that fact could correlates with a budget increase in contract spending, she says.

In some cases, she says, clients experience sticker shock when they realize that the skills, experience, and maturity they want in an employee is going to cost more than they thought, but at the end of the day, to remain competitive in a tough market, they must pony up.

"In order to get the talent they want at the skill and expertise level they want, they have to pay for that, whether it's a contract employee or a full-time hire," McGarrity says. "Sometimes, their lowering budgets can be a negotiating tactic, but, in many cases, it's just a matter of educating the client about the real-world value of these employees," she says.

"They believe they're saving so much on the bottom line by using contract workers," McGarrity says, "but they just don't understand how expensive it will be."


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