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What is it like working as a contractor for a recruitment agency?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by aushus, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. aushus

    aushus Byte Poster

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    Hello Guys,

    So I have being in the IT industry for like 3 and a half years. I have mostly being doing server/desktop/infrastructure work and in the last 7 months I have being specialising in Identity and Access management work as well as with Office 365 in my current company. I am also Microsoft Certified MCITP.

    I have being in my current place for 7 months and I am thinking of leaving it and doing contracting work and getting contracting gigs via recruitment agencies. I know some agencies advertise 30 to 40 pounds a hour for like 3 to 6 month contracts.

    What are your guys opinion? Is it worth the risk? The good thing is when your a hourly worker you can work after hours and get more money.

    Currently I make 30k.
     
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    F**k me, really Aushus?? Just get out of IT mate, you're obviously not suited to it because I can tell you if you're not happy in your Perm position you're going to be a lot worse off as a contractor because in the eyes of perm staff you're the scum of the earth being paid more than them and you have to do all the ****ty work that they don't want to do.

    I have to be honest and say of all the people I have seen talk about their work you stick out as the one person really not suited to contracting and the only reason I see you doing contracting is the chance of more money, I would think long and hard before taking that leap because it really is a different kettle of fish when compared to perm and I should know as I spent 14 years as a contractor.
     
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  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    It makes sense to go contracting when the economy is on an upturn, now is not the time in general.

    I've been in IT for around 18 years and contracting for 11 years. The market is difficult now, people are offering me mostly perm positions and I've been out of work looking for over two months for my next contract.

    I think you need to be the best in your field to make contracting work, 3 years is a very small amount of experience.

    You don't really work for an agency, you work for yourself, you are self employed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
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  4. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    You need to weigh up the options, I was permanent in my last job and I quit to take on a 12 month contract role... but the reason I did it was not for money but for career progression as in my old job it was dead end and I had no option but to get out, the only jobs coming up were contract so I took it.

    In my honest opinion though, whilst your earning £30k permanent job that your enjoying, why then take the risk of £40 p/hr for 3 months which could end after 1 month and you may end up unemployed for 6 months+, overall your going to be out of pocket compared to what your on now.
     
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  5. aushus

    aushus Byte Poster

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    My partner works as in the software quality assurance. She is not really smart and I am more skilled than her and she left a lot of her past jobs because she got bullied or people ignored her. She got a contracting job making 23.5 pounds a hour and the contract will go on till the end of year and I know alot of people working as helpdesk contractors and these are fresh people with little to no experience.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Im talking about working under an umbrella company if they say 6 month contract it has to be 6 months right they cannot end me after 1 month right? a contract is a contract.
     
  6. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    What a charmer ...
     
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  7. Coupe2T

    Coupe2T Megabyte Poster

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    I think you will find as a contractor they can very easily drop you beforehand, they may have to give you a little notice, but they do not have to absolutely honour the whole term.

    Personally though I'm with Simon, the continued whinging and moaning posts and constant posts of how great you are make me think that you would walk in the door with your high and mighty attitude and they would see right through it and send you straight through the back door and tell you to keep on walking!

    Contracting is great when you have vast experience and knowledge, but with only 3 years experience I don't think you can claim to have that and I don't think it would work out very well for you. Also as mentioned, we are still in recession job market, and there will be many many more high quality and experienced guys out there snapping up these contracting roles!!!
     
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  8. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    This

    This

    I'm sorry, actually particularly in QA you'll find the rug can be pulled from under you at any point during a contract. You'll find any contractors role will have clauses built into it which allow them to drop you should things not be working out.
     
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  9. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    A contract does not have to run the full term, normally there are various break clauses for various situations, its common for your real notice to be one month, so yes they can normally end your contract with one month notice.

    Many contracts have some pretty nasty clauses, some say that if you do not complete the probationary period you get no pay at all.

    If I was in your position I wouldn't consider going contracting for anything less than £40 per hour. Contract rates need to cover sick pay, time out of work, pension, healthcare, equipment, training, travel, accommodation, you need to factor in the risk of being self employed and all your costs into your rate.

    You should also have enough savings to cover your essentials for at least 3 months minimum, in case you are out of work.

    Once you are self employed you may also lose entitlements to most benefits.

    Just because there are some chancers in both the perm and contract markets, does not mean that you will find it easy to get the same sort of treatment...

    Testing has long been a largely unskilled profession where fairly dumb people hammer on stuff, fortunately this is now starting to change.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
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  10. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    It certainly is, I saw a recent article in NewScientist saying SAP are aiming to employ a whole load of Autistic software testers basically because they are a whole load better suited to it than the usual muppets. Not to say that all software testers are stupid, just the ones I've come into contact with while in IT.....
     
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  11. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    aushus, you should also remember that like has already been pointed out, when you become a contractor you will become self-employed, an umbrella company will charge you to process your pay and in many cases this will be at a set percentage, they will then try and claim back some taxes for you, but in my experience I found for the amount they were getting me back each month, I was then paying them a similar amount as their fee.

    you may also find that yes £40 per hour sounds nice, but this will include your holiday pay, and therefore when you come to take a 2 week holiday, you will not be paid for this time out. I have seen contractors go on holiday, and return to find that the contract has been terminated as the company brought someone else in as many contractors can start immediately and therefore when you clock out at 5pm on Friday for 2 weeks leave, another contractor will already be at your desk for 9am Monday, the company doesn't lose out as contactors should already be highly skilled enough to walk throught he door and start immediately with minimal training.

    Being a contractor is like putting £20 on a 3-legged horse to win the grand national, as yes it will be able to start, but when it will finish no-one knows.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Im talking about working under an umbrella company if they say 6 month contract it has to be 6 months right they cannot end me after 1 month right? a contract is a contract.[/QUOTE]

    incorrect, there is no guarantee that the 6 month contract will last 6 months, even if your written contract says it will last 6 months, there will be a clause in that contract somewhere to say that it can end at anytime with 1 week notice or in many cases, no notice.
     
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  12. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    They can end you when ever they want. Just because you have a 6 month contract doesn't mean that they need to honour that 6 month contract.
     
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  13. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    Contractors are easy to hire, easy to fire.
    There are two main reasons to hire a contractor:
    1) You need a specialist for a project.
    2) You want to be able to cut staff numbers quickly, and for minimum cost, if the business requires it. Non-project contractors are always the first to go as the balance sheet looks so much nicer without any nasty redundancy payments messing it up.

    With only 3 years experience I doubt you fit into category 1. Technology you are very familiar with will probably have reached saturation point by now as far as contracting goes and you'll be up against some very experienced people. Also, you don't seem to like working when you're not being paid (although I imagine your current contract has that covered legally) and you'll have to do a shedload in your own time to get up to speed.

    That pretty much leaves you in the 'disposable' category 2. Cannon fodder in all but name.
     
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  14. FlashDangerpants

    FlashDangerpants Nibble Poster

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    You need good relationships as a contractor. Even if you don't intend to work at the same company again, you absolutely do need their feedback to your recruitment guys to be positive. Otherwise they will take to shielding their valued clients from you.

    If you are anything like as toxic in the workplace as you are on the internet (and everything you've written here suggests that is the case), then you are obviously much too confrontational to survive as a contractor.
     
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  15. BigG

    BigG Nibble Poster

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    Watch out for umbrella companies - a lesson from a friend.
    A contracting friend of mine had this "arrangement"

    The company he work for paid the umbrella on a 2 months "in arrears" basis.
    The umbrella company agrees to pay him on a 3 months "in arrears" basis.
    He got £0 for the first 3 months of work (sounds daft but he needed the work in a specialist microchip fabrication type of role - v. rare)
    he then go paid very handsomely in arrears and all started to look good. All costs were tax deductible too :)
    Then the company he worked for let him go, but they didn't pay his salary, so he could not get what he was owed to him as they did not employ him.
    He went to the umbrella company for his pay - who gave him the run around, lied, ignored him, before telling him they had gone bust.
    He only lost a couple of months wages.

    Lesson, umbrella companies help you avoid tax but can royally shaft you.

    My advise to you is simple. With two of you working, in these times it seems totally daft to give up a well paid permanent job to chase the contracting cash, especially as both of you cold end up, tomorrow being unemployed. At least with one salaried job you can prop the other up while they look for another role.
    Remember - it's very hard for employers to get rid of permanent employees, which is why contracting looks good on the surface (pay) but check out ALL of your benefits before making the switch. I have, and I'm staying put (for the time being)

    G
     
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  16. aushus

    aushus Byte Poster

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    I dont gobon the net while im at work or listen to **** while at work
     
  17. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Eh? :blink
     
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  18. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    As an amused bystander all I've seen you do is whinge.

    The advice already given to you is solid. At a very basic level, DMarsh's advice and the subsequent quotes regards contracting roles being unstable and the economy being as stable as a weeble in a hurricane ring true.

    Stay with your current perm job. Or probably find a new perm job as you seem to post that you hate it quite a lot. Or it's not good enough for you / you're too good for it. And too good for your GF in this thread too. And you're not paid enough, and that you work too many hours.

    What was that about not gobbing off on the internet?
     
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  19. Honda

    Honda Bit Poster

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    i see a lot of jobs offering 3 months initial contracts, does anyone know if they usually keep people on after the 3 months?, i am in a permanent position just now and recruitment agencies sometimes offer me contract jobs that would give me more experience but i do not take them incase i am out of a job after the 3 months
     
  20. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    If it does say 'initial' then the chances are high that you will be kept on, but in my experience these are mostly for outsourced companies so you have the added danger/excitement of them getting 3-6 months notice from the customer (it's happened to me twice within 3 months of starting a contract). The upside is that you normally have very short notice periods so can move on easily (my last contracting job was a weeks notice, my current perm is 3 months, I think my other contracts were two weeks notice).


    Being in the position of having a perm job you're caught between not being in a hurry to move on, but don't have the time to go to lots of interviews without making it obvious you're looking to move on. Use the recruitment agency to filter out those with bad odds for >12 months employment. Bear in mind that they will probably be 'optimistic' about figures they quote you, so make sure you take anything they say with a pinch (or sack) of salt.

    Then ask the right questions at interview.

    One thing to remember: You want to contract to expand your knowledge. Use the "Have you got any questions?" part of an interview to get the answer to the above, but also find out what technology you will be using frequently, and to what degree.
     
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