By Charlene Coleman, MD of HP|konnect • October 10, 2018

Why Contractors Are Becoming Permanent

‘Contract versus Perm’ has always been the red pill blue pill choice every developer encounters sooner or later.

One means being your own boss, the other means having access to the pension schemes, healthcare, and other benefits that come with your employee status. Neither is technically better than the other, but my eagle eyes have recently spotted contract worker aplenty retracting their decision, and jumping over the fence to go permanent.

I’ve spoken to a lot of tech contractors in my time (have I mentioned it before?). We all presume that money makes the world go round, but...

...the reason they back their process is less to do with better remuneration, and more to do with how they work in the first place.

The secret to their conviction? The freedom. It’s the ability to operate wherever they want, however they want. Whether it’s blazing through a code in the blazing heat of the Spanish sun or testing from the comfort of their kitchen at 5am, a contract worker knows their work flexibility means they aren’t restricted to office walls or fretting over surprise meetings.

The world is their desk, and their working hours are in tune with their body clock.

So, with the contractor’s lifestyle so attractive to the developer, and with higher pay to sweeten the deal, why are more of them choosing the permanent route?

One cog in the UK contractor’s works is that it’s getting more difficult to take on projects for the rates they’re used to charging. They find themselves in a race to the bottom on price, and therefore on their demand, when competing with talented developers from overseas that work for much cheaper. With international outsourcing a healthier option for company pockets, contracting is beginning to lose its edge and contractors are having to either do more for less or risk going long periods sans-income.

Permanent roles offer a constant stream of work that developers don’t have to constantly compete for, and that’s not all. Companies have now caught onto the fact that retaining their tech arm doesn’t stop at guaranteeing stability, but rests on the lifestyles offered.

Have you ever had a job that ticks so many of your needs that you can’t imagine ever jumping ship?

Well, permanent roles once used to define set working schedules - the bonuses they offered were overlooked by contractors, therefore, because all they saw was inflexibility.

Recently, tech companies have realised their bargaining chip is to be found in letting developers do things their own way. They’ve begun to implement job flexibility so that it’s no longer an exclusive perk of contracting, and heads are being turned because of it. There’s no longer a fixed choice to be made between employee benefits and freedom - developers can have both, and prosper in their careers whilst immersing themselves in their company and its offerings. With the best of both worlds at hand, talent retains itself.

Companies need to be daring and go all the way with their promise, because it’s in biting the bullet and allowing talent to work in the way that they work best that they’re guaranteed to win the war on talent. That means meeting them halfway with a weak remote work scheme isn’t going to cut it. When your output as a company is so reliant on theirs, why hold back?

So, contracting used to once be the easy choice for those who didn’t like limits. Now, permanency is at level odds with it because it’s beginning to mirror its lack of restriction.

Tech companies have begun to offer jobs that satisfy a developer’s need for freedom, rewards them for their loyalty, and eradicates the stress of competition.

Flexible working evolves a simple permanent role into an unbeatable one. Implement it into your company, and the developers will come, and better yet, stay.

Remote working gives developers the freedom to take their work on the road as a digital nomad. Whether you’re considering it or already championing it, we’ve designed ‘The Developer's Essential Guide to Remote Working in 2019’ to help make the process easier.

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