Independent Contractors" Career Outlook Never Looked Better

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The odds that the IT professional servicing your network will be a contractor are increasing, according to staffing experts.
More and more IT departments are moving away from employee-based to outsourcing models to service key pieces of technology infrastructure and, increasingly, top IT professionals are considering a move from employee to independent contractor.
"Cost centers" such as information technology are often the first to be cut in a business downturn, and tend to rely more heavily on a flexible workforce made up of a kernel of employees augmented by independent contract professionals.
76 percent of US executives surveyed said they plan to increase IT spending by an average of 19.
5 percent
, according to a study by AMR Research Inc.
They'll primarily spend on:
  • hardware
  • software
  • outsourcing
  • independent IT contractors
But, will slow the aggressive hiring of the past few years.
Why do Companies use Consultants? Companies use independent contractors because they get the service without the overhead, said Tom Rodenhauser, head of Consulting Information Services in Keene, N.
"Since companies are all about maximizing profits and increasing efficiencies, the case for using contractors and independent consultants amounts to good business," he said.
Independent Consultant Population has Grown The US independent contractor population held steady between 1995 and 2001, but has been accelerating ever since.
By the end of 2005 it had grown by more than a quarter, to 10.
3 million.
Once considered an unconventional, even uncertain career path, contract work may offer the IT expert more control over his career path with the potential for higher earnings.
I'm managing my own business," said Chet Simpson, an IT help desk contractor in Oregon, "I'm not dependent on a single employer's budget cuts for my income and I can choose the assignments that give me the most satisfaction.
" Staffing Industry Analysts, Inc.
, a research firm analyzing trends in the temporary workforce, confirms the growth in demand for independent contractors.
Los Altos, California-based SIA estimated that IT temporary help currently accounts for about 3.
4 percent of IT employment
, but revenues are growing at about 10 percent per year, said Jon Osborne, the organization's director of research and analysis.
Contract Work provides a Greater Measure of Control & StabilityLayoffs can teach experienced professionals that they're expendable, and that contract work provides a greater measure of control and stability.
In the U.
today, more than 30 million workers -- nearly one-fourth of the American workforce -- are free agents, said Daniel Pink, author of "Free Agent Nation.
" "Free agent" is the term Pink uses to describe independent contractors, temps and permatemps, freelancers and e-lancers, micropreneurs, interim executives and on-call troubleshooters.
Many Fortune 1000 companies are considering shifting their IT organizations from primarily employee-based to a nearly equal mix of employees and independent.
IT departments are increasing the amount of work they give to subcontractors and independent contractors instead of keeping jobs-in house, said William Bridges, a Mill Valley, Calif.
workforce management consultant.
"The big question companies are asking themselves these days is, 'Does it make sense doing it ourselves or farming it out?'" said Bridges.
"I think we're going to continue to move in the direction of breaking down big organizations and outsourcing work.
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