IT specialists are the most sought-after group of employees on the market today, allowing them to dictate terms to employers. In addition to the level of compensation and opportunities for professional development, IT specialists are placing increasing emphasis on the form of the employment relationship. On what bases can companies work with IT specialists, and which of the solutions will be optimal for both sides?
The labour market in the IT sector offers employers and employees many structures for working together. Each of these groups has its own interests; each focuses on different aspects, which suggest to them a certain structure for the relationship. In the case of IT specialists, we are undoubtedly dealing with an employee’s market, so finding high-quality experts requires great flexibility from employers, and in many areas: compensation, opportunities to develop, benefits and, in fact, the ability to choose the form of the relationship. Increasingly often, experienced specialists want to work as contractors, employed only for the duration of a given project; to have the ability to select their employers; and even to work on several projects from various companies simultaneously, which gives them the opportunity to earn additional money. Familiarity with the various types of relationship available on the market allows employers to meet the expectations of IT employees, while optimising costs.
A full work contract is the most popular form of employment. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver in the case of most IT specialists, particularly those with several years of experience. We can even say that companies offering candidates a work contract may have problems finding very experienced IT specialists, because they prefer self-employment or other types of employment relationship, which give them independence. Additionally, in light of the high employment costs borne by the employer, net compensation for IT specialists working on permanent contracts may be lower by as much as 25-30% than for those who have their own companies. It’s worth offering a work contract to young people, students in their final years or recent graduates of computer science programmes, who are taking their first steps on the labour market. Most people at the beginning of their careers value this kind of relationship, which allows them to focus on their own development. All the additional aspects of running their own company may hinder them in acquiring practical experience in their first job.
One of the most flexible forms of working with IT specialists is hiring contractors for the time of a given project, an arrangement known on some markets as body leasing. The greatest advantage of this form of employment is its flexibility, which proves its value most clearly in the case of project work, but is also used in longerterm relationships. A project may last anywhere from several days to several years. For candidates, this is an attractive form of employment, because they don’t have to work with the employer permanently, and can choose the projects they are engaged in. Meanwhile, the company, knowing the candidate’s rates, can budget the entire project – or, taking the opposite approach, it can choose the right specialist to fit the budget.
A great help for companies using this form of employment is the support of a partner who specialises in finding and delegating contract employees. It’s worth talking with representatives of several firms to compare the terms they, their recruitment methods as well as the conditions they offer to contractors. The duties of the company include recruiting the right people, arranging all administrative and payroll formalities, and most importantly ensuring an immediate replacement in the case of an illness or vacation by the contractor. For a partner who specialises in delegating workers on contracts, finding a replacement does not pose a problem, because they have their own base of freelancers. When the project ends, the contractor completes their work with a given employer, and the company does not bear the costs associated with employing a person for which it may no longer have any work. Meanwhile, as long as the project lasts, the company has access to a high-quality specialists with varied project experience, which would be difficult for a single employer to achieve.
IT SPECIALISTS OUTSOURCING
Another form for the relationship is outsourcing the IT function to an external company that specialises in a given area. This is a solution applied in both small and large companies. Depending on the company’s profile and the size of the IT department, it may outsource one or several areas, e.g. helpdesk, testing or development of the technology in which it specialises. In a small company this may lead to the hiring of an external company offering IT support services (a helpdesk). In practice, this is IT service dependent on the needs of users, involving the delegated specialist spending several days in the company. Meanwhile, in the case of a large company, this may be a staff of several dozen people delegated exclusively for its needs. Work within a service-provision framework is most often long-term, and the supplier is paid based on the effects of the work, its quality and reliability.
Just a few years ago, employers definitely preferred to hire all employees on permanent employment, including those in IT departments. Today this situation has changed. The clear majority of companies limits the permanent positions in their IT departments to managerial and administrative roles. Meanwhile, other forms of employment are most commonly used by developers and testers, in light of the specific nature of their work. Companies use body leasing and outsourcing of IT employees, because it allows them to concentrate on their core business. Selecting the right partner is the key to being able to work with top specialists, providing highquality services at an attractive price. The relationship needs to be individually tailored, and adjusted to the company’s current needs.
THE BEST SOLUTION FOR THE EMPLOYEE
IT specialists have high demands for their future employers, and treasure their freedom. The most important thing is to approach them individually, listen to their needs and, if the company is able, to accept the form of employment that the candidate prefers. Employers who can of fer flexible working relationships are more valued by candidates.
"One of the most flexible forms of working with IT specialists is hiring contractors for the time of a given project, an arrangement known on some markets as body leasing."
The candidate’s preferred form of employment very often depends on their current professional or personal situation. Typically, IT specialists have a choice between permanent work, under an employment contract, and selfemployment as freelancers. Permanent employment is chosen by people who are seeking a long-term, stable relationship. They’re not interested in constantly looking for new projects. Such people typically enter a relationship with an employer for at least two or three years. Self-employment is chosen by people who like to work from project to project, and value freedom in choosing their assignments and performing their work. This also makes it possible for them to participate in several projects at the same time, and even to work for several companies. Undoubtedly, this type of work offers the opportunity to gain vast, varied experience. People who work as freelancers undertake specific tasks or projects in a timeframe agreed on with the employer. They are engaged in the project, but they’re not tied to the company.
In seeking the best model for hiring IT specialists, it’s worth comparing various structures for the relationship, and getting to know their pluses and minuses. This allows a conscious decision concerning the employment structures offered to IT specialists. This may increase a company’s attractiveness as an employer, and optimise its operating costs.