11 Ways I Powered Up My Contractor Career

I’m a Super IT Contractor. Having listened to many different ‘contractor colleagues’ saying “Do you realise JUST how much I earn doing the same job as you?!….”. I finally took the plunge and became a contractor.

Like life there can be challenges. I know the nature of contracting; I knew that when it got nearer to the end of a contract it would become increasingly important to secure my next position.

Not to Fear, I devised my contractor plan.

On The Look Out

  1. I registered with a lot of agencies.
  2. I kept updating my CV with the help of many of the free professional forums online.
  3. I began to see interviews as an opportunity. I also invested in interview coaching and contracts hunting.
  4. I made it clear that I was open to changing my rate and relocating as well as adaptable and willing to learn.

Staying On The Radar

  1. Carried out some additional training such as ‘Lean 6 Sigma black belt’ with the hope of making my proposition more valuable to potential employers.
  2. I kept my LinkedIn profile up to date, commented, liked and researched.
  3. Did some voluntary work. Always good to give a little back to the community.
  4. I spoke at a couple of conferences.
  5. Wrote some industry specific articles for blogs and journals.

Staying Super Energised

  1. I made an exercise plan to reduce stress and give greater work life balance.
  2. I allowed myself to relax by doing things I enjoy such as reading and playing computer games.

I now have a variety of contract opportunities a lot more regularly.

Moral of the story – Do it right and opportunities should come your way.



Top 10 UK Cities with the Highest Number of Tech Jobs (outside London)

One of the fastest growing industries in the UK is the tech market. London by itself has 328,000 digital tech jobs, but which other cities around the UK are important locations for technology? View the Top 10 Highest Number of Tech jobs in the UK (outside of London) table below:

Edinburgh - 21000
Newcastle / County Durham - 22000
Leeds - 24000
Southampton - 25000
Oxford / Abington- 25000
Glasgow - 26000
Birmingham - 36000
Bristol / Bath - 37000
Reading / Bracknell Forest - 40000
Manchester - 52000

Source: Sonovate, Q3 2016, September 2016

The Top 10 Highest Paid IT Contractor Roles in London

For the contract market, tech and IT are among the best paid sectors. See below the top 10 highest paid IT contractor roles in London today (Q4, 2016).

Head of Technology - £875
Senior Information Architect - £900
Senior IT Programme Manager - £900
Head of Programme Management - £900
Head of Programme Delivery - £900
Electronic Trading C++ Developer - £900
Head of IT Services - £900
Head of IT Development - £975
Operations Director - £1000
Head of Mobile - £1350

Source: Sonovate, Q4 2016, October 2016

5 Ways Brexit Won’t Impact Contractor Mortgages

A Super Contractor should be prepared for every eventuality. While many in the city may not have backed Brexit or even anticipated the result – I was busy calculating what a leave vote would mean for contractors like myself. No, my powers are not psychic in nature, but simply those I put into operation every day in my role as a (Super) IT contractor – foresight and planning.

Here are my five reasons why Brexit won’t impact negatively on UK contractor mortgages.

1. The BOE Contingency Plan

Like any super contractor worth his cape and day rate – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, was quick (as The Flash) to announce that the Bank had prepared for every eventuality; duly unveiling a cunning contingency master-plan designed to protect the economy from negative effects in the the outcome of leaving the EU. In fact, since the last crash of 2008, the Banks have been simulating and stress testing far more severe scenarios than those we currently face to shape the battle plan. Are they ready? It’s worth noting that the money held by the biggest British banks is ten times what it was before the crisis of 2008; some £130 billion of capital and £600 billion of high quality liquid assets; something Carney says ‘gives banks the flexibility they need to continue to lend to UK businesses and households, even during challenging times.¹ In short, the UK banks are more stable – while ‘Fred The Shred’ could only lend from his piggy bank to close friends and family, Mark Carney has the resources of Lex Luthor, and a better head of hair besides.

2. Even Lower Interest Rates for Contractor Mortgages

Whatever way you voted, the fact is ‘we are where we are’. So, while the banks navigate a foreseen period of uncertainty and adjustment, the BOE is widely tipped to slash UK base interest rates from a record low of 0.5% to 0.25% by the end of 2016.² Gadzooks! If Interest rates stay this low, we’ll all be forming an orderly queue at our banks for (almost) free loans. Take that, Payday Loan Lenders!

So what does that mean for contractor mortgages? Well, with lower BOE interest rates in place, mortgage lenders could take a hatchet to mortgage rates to lure customers with new, cheaper deals. In short, not only could this mean lower contractor mortgage rates, but also lower asking prices for available property, while uncertainty abounds.

3. Carpe Diem (I knew learning Latin in school would finally come in handy)

As Contractors, we have the ability to speculate and act fast. On 16th September 1992 George Soros made an estimated £1 Billion from short selling the GB Pound on Black Wednesday. Granted, he almost collapsed the UK economy in the process, at an estimated cost of £3.3 Billion³, but the point is, know your onions, be agile, and the opportunities are there.

UK Pound Devalued
Today, the value of Sterling is at a 30 year low against the USD, and other currencies. This is a positive for exported UK products and services who are currently enjoying renewed international demand as a result of buyers gaining more value for money.

Lower UK Corporation Tax Rates
With George Osborne proposing the lowering of UK Corporation Tax (CT) to 15%, the UK is being cited as a potential Tax Haven for Corporations.

Booming FinTech Market for Contractors
Despite all the uncertainty, what is certain is the fact that Financial Technology Contractors are in demand. Here’s a quick list of the highest-paid contract IT jobs in UK FinTech companies (figures refer to average daily rates):

Project Management: £425
System Administration: £450
Software Engineer: £464
Database Administration: £491
Database Developer: £495
Programme Management: £503
Unix Administration: £544
Technical Architect: £625
ERP: £700
IT Security: £700

Source: Sonovate 4

4. Brexit – Great for contractors

Ahead of the Brexit vote, many head honchos were putting big appointments on hold. According to a poll by Randstad, around a quarter of the professional firms surveyed were using contractors due to the uncertainty. The result is that many companies may continue to hire ‘contractors’ or temporary staff in the short term.5 So make hay while the sun shines!

5. Upheaval Means Transformation Projects

You heard it here first. I predict an increased demand for Super Contractors (like me) as the UK starts getting its own shiny new systems in place. Speaking with many recruitment agencies, they sense the UK leaving the EU could mean many high level transformation projects will be required, triggering substantial demand for fellow skilled contractors and freelancers in IT, Finance, Business Analysis, etc.

A key strength of being a Contractor is our flexibility. Employers and recruiters know this, and we’ll be the first workers called upon when the work requirements come in. So, if David Cameron, BOJO and Farage are considering their next moves – potentially retraining as Contractor Systems Analysts could be the smartest thing they’ve done this year!

In summary, despite all the uncertainty of the UK Brexit, I believe it will bring many opportunities for Super Contractors. What are your thoughts?

_______________________________
Sources:

  1. Statement From The Governor Of The Bank Of England Following The EU Referendum Result | Bank Of England. Bankofengland.co.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 1 July 2016.
  2. London South East News, Bank Of England Chief Hints At Interest Rate Cut After Brexit Shock
    Thu, 30th Jun 2016 18:04
  3. UK Government Papers released under 2005 Freedom of Information Act show that if the government had maintained $24 billion foreign currency reserves and the pound had fallen by the same amount, the UK would have made a £2.4 billion profit on sterling’s devaluation.
  4. Sourced by recruitment finance provider Sonovate, Q1, May 2016
  5. IQ Contracts, Brexit ‘may benefit contractors‘, 29 June 2016

Top 10 Web Dev Contractor Day Rates in Scotland

Research, compiled by Sonovate, for the last quarter using Innovantage uncovered 4,700 contract roles advertised in Q1 2016. The following list shows the average day rate for web development contractors in Scotland.

Analyst Developer - £245
Software Engineer - £277
Python Developer - £300
.NET Developer - £305
Drupal Developer - £350
Interface Developer - £389
Pega Developer - £390
UI Developer - £406
Informatica Developer - £427
DevOps Engineer - £454

Source: Sonovate, April 2016 – Average Day Rate Q1, 2016 for Web Development Contractors in Scotland