Manager of the IT financial services division and IT contract division at Robert Walters Hong Kong.
Can I earn more as an IT contractor?
I read a recent survey that said contractors working in cloud computing can earn up to 50 per cent more than they did last year. I’m currently in IT and would like to get into contracting, but I want to specialise in something that will guarantee a regular stream of clients. What kind of skills, apart from cloud computing, are most in demand?
IT contractors are in particular demand, as companies are usually able to save on HR administration costs, such as payroll and MPF administration. It also allows companies more flexibility in budgeting, especially for hiring managers who have difficulties in securing permanent headcount approval.
As strong competition for IT contractors means that those moving jobs or renewing contracts can command a decent salary increment, it is certainly a good time to consider getting into this side of the industry.
For skills that are in demand, cloud computing is a standout area as more companies are switching to the cloud and need professionals to support the transition. As these are usually project-based roles, contracting gives you the opportunity to engage with different clients and gain exposure to various industries and businesses.
Apart from cloud computing contractors, organisations also have a high demand for contract business analysts who can identify and resolve business needs and gaps using IT systems, as well as application development specialists and infrastructure support specialists.
While organisations across sectors have a growing need for contractors, financial services firms, retailers, and IT vendors and consultancies are among the most active contract employers in Hong Kong.
If you decide to make the move into contracting, another good thing is that your contract will usually be extended unless you underperform.
It is important to note that contracting is not for everyone. Experienced and seasoned contractors tend to have a “growth” mindset – they welcome new challenges and are fine with taking some risks. This attitude is valuable because, even if contractors can take up subsequent contracts in the same type of role, each environment will still be different. They will need to deal with different office cultures, different company sizes and different people, and adapt quickly to all.
If you got your current role through a recruitment agency, you can speak with your consultant around 1-2 months before your contract ends to secure an extension or get them to help you engage with other companies. It is also a good idea to attend industry networking events. This will enable you to make new contacts and keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and product knowledge.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Can I earn more as an IT contractor?