In the job search, you'll come across positions that are salaried, contract, or contract-to-hire. Many job seekers tend to overlook the contract or contract-to-hire roles, but there is more opportunity in those roles than people realize. According to Career Builder, the career opportunities for contractors are continuing to grow. Since 2016, that number has increased by 46% with 51% of employers planning to hire temporary or contract workers.The biggest benefit, and often largest decision maker, for many contract job seekers is compensation, and more permanent candidates are turning to contract work as they find they don’t have to sacrifice benefits or work-life balance while making more take-home pay. Why is this?
Contractors get paid more per hour
According to Dice’s 2016 Tech Salary Survey, the hourly base rate for tech contractors rings in at $70.26 per hour. In comparison, the same report also shows the average technology salary is at $96,370, which breaks down to $46.33 per hour for a 40-hour work week, not counting all the overtime you might be working. Published in a recent Recode article, in 2017 US freelance tech workers get paid $24,918 more a year compared to the average full-time worker (based on a 40-hour work week).
Keep in mind, this does not apply across all levels of experience or industries, but in general contract employees have a higher dollar-per-hour range compared to a salary employee. In theory, this is to cover the benefits that a company does not offer to the contractor, but if and when you work with an agency like Workbridge Associates, many of the benefits are included, such as health insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k).
Looking to jump start your career in tech? Check out all of our job postings in a city near you!
You receive compensation for the hours you work: All of them
A full-time job means you are a salaried employee and you are just that: on salary. You get paid a certain amount each year no matter how many hours you work as part of the salary agreement. Compared to a contractor, being employed for a 40-hour work week means working those exact hours because you get paid by the hour. Oftentimes, salary employees get called into work weekends, late nights, and early mornings. The biggest difference for a contractor is that you will get paid for the extra miles you put into the job.
Extra hours = Overtime pay
Due to a compliance law changed in 2016, not only do you get paid for every hour, you can get overtime pay (1.5 times your normal rate) for anything past your set work week maximum. What it comes down to is the more hours you work, the more money you can earn.
If you have any questions about contract work, contact a Workbridge Associates near you.
In the current job market, candidates are interviewing the company just as the company is interviewing them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2024, there will be an increase of over 480,000 jobs in the technology sector. In a market where your tech talent has a variety of roles and companies to choose between, differentiating your workplace culture from the crowd is of utmost importance.
With selling points such as office video games, ice cream bars, and other frivolous perks, it can seem daunting to compete for candidate’s attention. However, we’ve found that what excites candidates about prospective roles has a lot more to do with the overall culture than the fun office perks and activities. Here are the most important things candidates on the market are seeking today:
1. Challenging Tasks: Engineers and developers want to develop new skills and handle projects they know will be making an impact. If you can exhibit the type of problems they’ll be solving, they’ll have the foundation to get excited about the role.
2. Opportunity to Learn: Candidates want to approach each new role knowing what they can expect to get out of it. Throughout the interview process, managers should be sure to emphasize how they have grown within the company and how the candidate will be able to strengthen their skill set in the same way
3. Company Management: Employees are eager to work for passionate managers and quick to quit on those who aren’t. Share your history within the company, talk about what drives you to innovate and how the company has given you a platform to develop. Offering inspiring insight and talking about your style as a manager can tip the scales tremendously for candidates as they interview. Here are a few tips from Timmy Award winning managers if you’re trying to build a successful tech team.
4. Team Engagement: Be sure to prepare your existing team for the upcoming interview so they can make a good impression on potential new hires. Ensure everyone connects with the candidate and talks openly about what they enjoy in their roles. Showcasing a real-life example of the company culture in the interview process is a fantastic way to garner a candidate’s buy in.
5. Future Plans: To prevent burn out and workplace boredom, engineers seek out a role they can grow with. Whether a startup or an established organization, be sure to convey the future plans of the department and how that will impact the company as a whole.
6. Current Tech Stacks: There’s always new developments to stay current with in the tech world. Engineers want a role where they will be exposed to the hottest tech so they can stay up to date in their knowledge. Continual training in new products is a fantastic way to showcase a company’s investment to its employees and should certainly be a highlight of the interview process.
7. Impactful Input: Candidates want to know that as they come on board to an organization, they will have a chance to impact the company with their input and feedback. Be sure to convey the importance of employee ideas during the interview process so they know their voice will be heard as decisions are being made.
Keeping this list handy will make your workload lighter as you move through the interview process. Understanding what candidates are looking for will allow you to highlight the most impactful things about your company, instead of overselling the snacks and catered lunches. Showcase what is most important to your tech talent to seal the deal and make hires that will impact the company.
There seems to be a lack of candidates and hiring managers these days interested in contract-to-perm positions, but why? A contract-to-perm position, also called contract-to-hire, is when employers would like to bring on a full-time employee but don’t want to commit to a permanent hire right up front. In most cases, a contract-to-perm employee will work on a specific project for a few months in hopes that their role will be converted into full-time.
As an employee, before you turn down a potential job opportunity just because it isn't "full time," consider how working a contract-to-perm job benefits you. There are three immediate ways that you can use this role to your advantage: the resume impact, the compensation, and the job itself.
Names like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple don’t look too bad on a resume, now do they? Enterprise companies are constantly looking for contractors to work on their various projects. Not only that, but because the contract phase of the job usually lasts three to six months, you have the option to leave and pursue opportunities to work for several big-name companies – without the stigma. You can beef up your resume with some impressive work experience without the negative "job hopping" connotation. Additionally, the connections that you make during your contract role can prove valuable should you choose to come back, stay, or pursue a permanent role later on.
2. Money Maker
Another reason why recruiters and hiring managers might stress contract-to-perm is because you can actively look for another job while still making money. If for some reason, you don’t like the job, you don’t have to accept an offer at the end of the contract to be converted to a full-time employee. This role essentially can be summed up to “try before you buy.” It’s okay to keep your options open. Contract-to-perm jobs also generally have a higher hourly rate than salary positions when broken down, because you’re paid for every hour you work (including overtime!). It’s the best of both worlds.
3. On the Job
Contract-to-Permpositions have some of the fastest onboarding processes we see from any of our clients. These companies are looking to get the job done as fast as possible because they have a pressing requirement for more hands on deck. The interview process tends to be easier as well – “Can you do the job? Yes? Great!” - because there is less emphasis on culture fit since they're going to see how you mesh in person. In most cases, you also can be more flexible with your hours. If the work is getting done, and you’re committing the appropriate number of hours each week, your employer will be happy. Frequently, you’ll be exposed to additional technologies, building your skillset, while utilizing the tools you’re familiar with and the hiring manager needs. Remember, the bottom line of these positions is to complete a project.
This ‘trial’ period is mutually beneficial for the employee and the employer. That's right, there are benefits for the employer, too. Wondering why a hiring manager would want to hire on a contract instead of permanently? With contract-to-perm positions, employers win in terms of the hiring process, the job itself, and the future.
4. Hiring Process
As we mentioned, the onboarding for contract-to perm-positions is typically quick and relatively painless, especially with recruiting agencies like Workbridge. When looking for contractors, hiring managers are looking to fill an urgent need and thus don’t want to sift through a multitude of resumes. Hiring managers can focus on who will get the job done right now, instead of focusing on the right ‘culture’ fit long term. Also, when hiring for contract-to-perm roles, many managers work with recruiting agencies that provide benefits like healthcare and PTO, while also streamlining the hiring process for the company. Thus, the hiring process will take less time and money.
Want to learn more about how Workbridge can help your hiring process? Click here.
5. The Trial Period
Being that contract-to-perm positions are more like ‘trial’ periods, if you find the candidate isn’t a good fit, you are not committed to taking them on full-time. The arrangement lets you weigh their skills versus how they fit in as an employee, without having to commit right away. As recruiters, this trumps any argument about not hiring contract-to-perm. A hiring manager can see firsthand a potential employee’s skillset and capabilities for growth before bringing them on full-time.
6. The Future
There are two scenarios that can happen with a contract-to-perm employee that can affect the future, both for the better. Say the hire is great and gets the project done but for whatever reason, doesn’t take/get offered to be put on full-time. That candidate will always be someone you can add to your network. If ever there was a time in the future when you need a project done, you know that you can call that person to get it done. On the other hand, if you flip the employee into full-time, you already know what you’re getting. The employee has already proven themselves as an asset and is a great cultural fit.
If you haven’t thought about hiring contract-to-perm or accepting that sort of position, give it a shot. It can open a whole new avenue of potential opportunities. Contact a Workbridge Associates in your city to kick start the process.
The interview is widely considered to be the most important part of the job seeking process, but how do you get there? To be considered for a desirable position, you need to stand out among other qualified applicants. Are you bringing the right tools and skills to the table? Before you’re even looking for your next job, do the homework to make sure you’re a top-tier candidate by the time you apply.
Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, has some valuable market insight on the best practices for positioning yourself as a desirable candidate in the competitive IT job market of today.
Looking to hire tech talent or find a job in New York City? Contact Sam's team here.
Know Where You Stand
Whether you are entry level or an expert in your field, knowing what’s expected in your industry should be the first step in any career, and especially your job search. In any given role, your scope of work and responsibilities will vary drastically depending on your experience level, tech stack, and ability to manage others. Soft skills and hard skills both play a role in determining your experience level.
- Soft skills usually involve user interaction, or business side interaction with product, marketing, sales etc. and are most necessary for IT managers.
- A junior engineer is traditionally less involved in these areas. Soft skills like excellent communication and understanding tech’s role in driving business are gained over time as opposed to hard skills, which are usually more relevant to design, architecture, development and implementation of specific technologies.
- Junior candidates spend the majority of their time focusing on building and integrating systems but aren’t ultimately driving the decisions behind the scenes.
- Decision making is reserved for the senior staff, who have the ideal perspective to make well-informed business decisions.
Get Familiar with Your Audience
Research the companies you’re interested in. Talk to people in your network and check out recent press about them. What type of company culture do they have? Is there room for growth? Is it a team environment? Which technologies are they using? What are people saying about them online? Who’s on the leadership team and what makes them successful? What types of products or services do they offer? Would you use their product or service? This research will give you the best indication if you’re a good fit, not to mention your knowledge of the organization is sure to impress the hiring manager conducting the interview!
Level the Playing Field
What do other professionals in your field have certifications in?
Are they publishing their work on popular code repositories like GitHub, HackerRank & BitBucket? Candidates who show initiative in acquiring certifications for new technologies will find themselves at the front of the line when compared with candidates who stick to the status quo. You’ll be able to better position yourself for success by modeling your efforts after the best practices of others who have come before you. A study conducted by IT Business Edge claims that “Forty percent of tech consultants said obtaining a certification helped them land a new gig.”
Tailor Your Resume
Your resume should be adjusted for each job you apply to. Emphasize the most relevant skills required for the job in your summary, skills section and in your work experience. The ideal resume length is one to two pages, so avoid cluttering it with irrelevant experience. It should be easy to navigate and reflect your ability to provide a solution for a current business need, as well as showcase any subject matter expert contributions you've made as a thought leader.
Make Your Web Presence Shine
Your online profiles (LinkedIn, About.Me, etc.) are the first things potential employers will see when evaluating you for a position. Check LinkedIn and About.Me to make sure your message is clear and accurately describes your ability to contribute to the organization. What type of language are people with similar jobs using to describe their experience? Let others know what technologies you work with, what certifications you have and the level of experience you can bring to the table. Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, has this to say about what helps candidates stand out:
Interested in attending networking events in your area? Check out Tech in Motion today!
Practice Makes Perfect
Consider every interaction an interview, whether with a potential hiring manager or a connection that could be a reference for you in the future. Practicing interview Q&A’s before the job search will help you seem intelligent, personable and prepared in any interview or conversation, as well as help you conceptualize what your best qualities and career desires are. In an actual interview, the line of questioning tends to follow a common theme. Research typical questions asked in technical interviews and prep answers for each. You shouldn’t be surprised by questions like “What role do you think you’re a perfect match for?” or “What’s a personal challenge you’ve been able to overcome?” in a job interview, and you shouldn't be surprised by them outside an interview.
Using data from working to find hundreds of tech professionals their next role in 2016, Workbridge recruiting experts identified some trends in salaries, experience and skill sets for tech professionals. You can read the full report here. One of the notable findings was that salary growth stagnates for tech professionals after 15+ years of experience. Keeping these factors in mind can help you continue to increase your salary year after year if you position yourself correctly.
1) Your Tech Stack
Your skill set is obviously one of the most essential parts of continuous salary growth. For example, based on data from past placements, the highest salary increases seen in 2016 were received by Java Developers. With the introduction of Java 8, Java now has a functional programming side compared to the past object oriented type development, which gives it functionality for both large institutions and the start-up space. One of the biggest factors is also the need for Core Java in the financial space – certain industries such as financial will frequently be able to up your salary more than others; if you have a technology skill set that is in high demand in these industries, you’ll be better set up to increase your compensation. Mobile, Network Security, Front End, Ruby on Rails, Product Management, and UI/UX were also listed among the highest paid technologies coming into 2017.
2) New Trends & Technology in Your Industry
It can be hard to keep up with new trends in technology, especially for those tech professionals who have been in the workforce working with specific tools for years. When new tools or languages (or even methodologies, like Agile) are developed, they can have a very large impact on work flow, processes, and structure of the organization of projects and therefore on your value as an employee. For instance, Cloud Computing technology experience, such as Azure and Amazon Web Services, can increase salaries by as much as 26% according to this research we’ve collected. Another skill set in demand is mobile development experience, with iOS and Android lifting salaries by 14% and 13% respectively.
What are the highest paid tech skills? Find out how to make $200K as an engineer.
3) Mobility & Willingness to Change Jobs
According to a study done by ADP following the close of the first quarter of 2017, moving jobs has an average salary increase of 5.2%. Other reports estimate that the average is 8-10% in the more fast-paced industries. Experienced technologists who move into higher level roles on the corporate ladder, transitioning into management or lead roles through a promotion or job change, will of course see more growth in their compensation. A lot of employers feel comfortable hiring experienced engineers working for other companies and don’t see the need to promote within the company, so there is a reason why most employees would leave their current job for 13%.
4) Career Growth into Management
Outside of the most expensive tech hubs, many people placed with a $200K+ salary are generally at a Senior Management, C-Level or Lead position working for a startup or Fortune 500 company. As an engineer, being an effective manager who can lead others, take ownership, and make critical decisions will logically lead to salary growth. An MBA (full-time, executive, online, or part-time), a Master’s Degree in Engineering and a focus on management opportunities, as well as courses and a certificate on Leadership, are all important areas that can help qualify a candidate for a higher compensation.
Are you looking for a title change? Check out our job board for opportunities in management and beyond.
5) Positioning Yourself Competitively to the Incoming Workforce
There will always be an influx of new entries to the workforce. With every graduating class, a new set of young minds with the latest knowledge will start competing with those who have been in the business for 15+ years. When preparing for an interview, think about what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants besides your tech stack. Ask yourself this question: what is the difference between someone with a degree from 1990 and 27 years of experience compared to a person who graduated in 1996?
For the complete list of guidelines to keep your salary growing strong and steadily throughout your career, read the entire article here.
The contracting industry is growing exponentially. More and more Fortune 500 companies are turning to contracting as a business solution. Why? The cost associated with providing benefits and on-boarding for a full-time employee is high for a company on a tight budget. Contracting offers a solution for many employers looking for less overhead cost when it comes to hiring someone new for their team, quickly. So what does this mean for you? It means you have more opportunities to grow your skills and further your career – faster – as a contractor.
After meeting with thousands of technology professionals and seeing consistent questions, we’ve gathered the most common misconceptions on contracting. These pre-conceived notions have been preventing many job seekers from considering contract opportunities, so don’t fall into the same trap. Become knowledgeable on the contracting model and how it can help you in your career.
Misconception: Contract work is unstable and always short-term.
Reality: You can have a stable career as a contractor. Typically, the duration of a contract role can range from three months, six months to one year. Contract positions can be long-term depending on the company, assignment or project. Contracts can also get extended. We’ve seen roles get extended for up to four or five years and in some cases, for even longer.
The hiring process for a contractor can be much faster than hiring a full-time employee. Many contractors have been offered a position after their first round interview. Imagine, going on-site for the company of your dreams and getting offered the position on the same day. “One and done, it’s as simple as that.”
Are you actively looking for a new role? Being open to contract opportunities can speed up your job search. You may be surprised by the turn rate. From the moment you apply to a position, you can meet the company, receive the job offer, begin the on-boarding process as a new employee, and start your first day at your next role in less than two weeks.
From an employer’s perspective, there are far less hoops to jump through in terms of getting a new candidate on-boarded and having that candidate start immediately, if it's on a contract basis.
On a contract now? The rule of thumb is to start your job search at least six weeks before your contract expires. Check out our contract positions and apply today!
Misconception: If the company goes under, I’ll be the first to go as a contractor.
Reality: When a company shuts down their operations, lay-offs usually happen first with full-time employees on payroll. For example, if a company is trying to go public like the recent Snap Inc. IPO, the organization will cut costs where they can to make their finances look strong. Full-time employees have overhead costs associated with the company that don't directly make the company profitable. Thus, full-time employees are typically the first ones to be let go. On the other side, contractors are not on payroll and are needed to finish out urgent projects. The point being, contractors cost less for the company. An agency like Workbridge Associates covers all costs associated with on-boarding and benefits for the contractor. This allows the full life cycle from first touch point interview to first date of employment to occur rather quickly.
Misconception: Most companies don’t hire contractors.
Reality: Many companies do hire contractors – from the Fortune 500 companies in the hot entertainment industry to small start-ups working with the latest technology like VR and AI. The technology industry and IT sector is actually trending towards the contract market flow. As mentioned, full-time employees have costs that come out of department budgets under the hiring company. Contract staffing agencies cover the costs associated with HR, on-boarding and benefits. Countless companies are turning to contracting as a quicker, more effective solution to their hiring needs.
In the ever competitive, high-speed tech job market, the majority of the work is project based. Whether you are developing a new product, migrating infrastructure, or creating the software for the latest tech trend you could always use an additional hand to ensure that project is seen through completion.
Misconception: Contract work is all grunt work.
Reality: Contract work is typically more exciting. You have the opportunity to work for some of the biggest and best companies in the industry and build out your resume while also working on the latest and greatest technologies.
Full-time roles can get boring in a stagnant environment. On the other hand, contract work is ever-changing, rewarding and compelling. There are more avenues for career growth and development. You have the opportunity to work on different projects and work with dynamic teams as well as build out your skill set and explore learning something new. Looking to create your own schedule and take time off between projects? Contracting could be a rewarding option for you! A career in contracting can be rewarding, leading to a greater impact working with different organizations in various industries, contracting is what you make of it.
Remember, with the contracting market on the upswing you want to be the first adopter. There is stability in having a career in contracting. If you are looking for a new role, the life cycle to get hired as a contractor is much faster compared to on-boarding a full time employee. Typically, companies need contractors to get hired quickly to solve a need within the organization, so you’ll be valued by your employer. The next time your company has an upcoming product or software launch, you know they're considering hiring a contractor to join your tech team (and they can enlist our help here).
One of the biggest contributing factors of salary growth is experience, and the way that engineers can leverage their experience to get the best possible pay will make the upmost difference. After analyzing thousands of job placements across the United States and Canada, we have built a graph that demonstrates the growth of annual salaries by experience level in the tech industry.
You're probably wondering why the above graph illustrates that having "0 years" or no years of experience in the tech industry can get you a higher paying salary than someone who has one or two years. Surprisingly, an entry-level university or college graduate with little to no experience can actually negotiate at 4% higher salary than their peers who already have some experience in the industry.
4 Obstacles that Young Professionals Face in the Tech Industry
Some reasons behind this are:
1. With a shortage of tech talent, there is fierce competition amongst big companies to attract engineers and tech graduates right out of school.
2. If the candidate has little experience, but is already searching for a new job, it's a big indicator that something went wrong, such as termination of employment. It could also indicate that a person is looking for some type of career change (industry, company, technology, location, etc.) and would be willing to settle for a lower salary.
3. Once graduated, many young people try to find success as entrepreneurs. If that fails, a lot of them will then resort back to the job market, where their experience as entrepreneurs partially counts but their earnings at the time were little to none. Therefore, there is more leverage for an employer to offer less.
Start your job search in tech by checking out our job listings in a city near you!
Read the entire report on Tech in Motion Events website, and get further insight into how your experience level can influence how much you make.
Companies (much like singles these days) are always looking for great candidates to join their team, similar to how people are always in search of "the right one." This is especially true when it comes to hiring a permanent candidate or even a short-term contractor.
Whether it's on a perm or contract basis, companies can't afford to waste their time with potential candidates who are not serious about their search. The truth is 40% of employees who quit their job last year did so within six months of starting the position (via INC). So how can you avoid this? Perhaps taking your search for exceptional talent to a recruiting agency, a hiring matchmaker if you will, could be your best option for finding "the right one" to join your team.
Why hire a professional matchmaker? Here are a few ways they can effect your hiring process so you be more efficient with your time and energy:
1. Provide a pre-screening step to make sure applicants are what you see.
Recruiters go through a process when verifiying candidates: they talk to them, meet with them in person, check their references, and run a background check. At Workbridge, our contractors are on a W2 and are treated as our own employees, so candidates need to be able to pass our inspection. Companies can rest easy when it comes to the quality of the candidates good matchmakers are providing.
2. Cater to compatibility so you don't waste time qualifying candidates.
Every recruiter also should screen each candidate to ensure they are a fit for the role. Ideally, they would talk to the candidates about their experience and the position to ensure a match. Recruiting agencies that know what they're doing don't waste a hiring manager's time with candidates who are not a fit, and with an outside perspective can sometimes find the diamond in the rough a hiring manager might have missed.
3. Save you time, energy, and effort by doing the hard work.
Recruiters are responsible for helping the candidate through the process, which includes pay rate conversations. They take on the responsibility of providing benefits information, and even supplying benefits for contractors, as well as explaining workplace insurance and background checks. They are trained and experienced to make the process of finding and bringing on the right candidate as fast as possible.
4. Find great candidates you might not find on your own.
Top recruiters have a large network and diverse methods that make finding these hard-to-reach candidates possible. At Workbridge Associates, we even sponsor networking meetups through our event series, Tech in Motion, in all of our active cities. Why waste time companies combing through resumes to find "the one" (or the few)? The goal of skipping this step in the process is to give you more time to talk to qualified candidates, instead of spending that time trying to track them down.
But before you enter into the recruiting process, or the matchmaking world, consider the following:
- Don't go in with unrealistic expectations.
- Even the best recruiters still aren't miracle workers. Recruiters and hiring managers have the same goal: get your open roles filled with the best possible candidate that you can afford. It helps to have an open mind and hire the person who fits.
- Go into the process with a positive attitude.
- Looking for the candidate that fits the role, matches the company culture, and can get the job done is priority. Finding all the reasons why the person isn't perfect is not.
- It takes money to make money.
- Using an agency has its costs, even though options like contracting make it more affordable. The tech talent market is competitive, and you get what you pay for in terms of quality - whether it's a candidate or the recruiting agency you're working with. However, being up front about costs and willing to compromise could help a good recruiter find a way to work within your budget.