Whenever I attend networking events for Women in Technology, I always meet many women who are IT contractors, primarily working at home or moving from one employer to another on short to medium term contracts. It makes sense in that IT is a highly flexible field where you don’t always have to work on-site and in fact, many contractors love the variety of location as well as type of work. This flexibility makes it an ideal field for those juggling family and work responsibilities. Recently, the industry recruiting source IT Contractor reported that more and more IT companies are choosing to use contractors rather than take on permanent staff, due to the credit crunch – something that could be great for many of my coaching clients and other women who contract out their valuable skills.
The article says that many IT companies search for ways to cut spending and even more outsourcing could see the contractors missing out on positions too. Gerry McLaughlin from IT Contractor stated: "When the economy turns down and companies can’t sell more, they look to cut costs – and cutting IT contractors is the easiest means to do this. If the downturn persists they then look to cut their permanent staff…Directors then look at long term solutions in terms of cutting costs – and the solution they often come up with is outsourcing." A drop in the number of IT positions being taken up occurred after the stock market slide in 2000, with many experts suggesting the current economic downturn could have a similar effect. Still, employment in the IT sector is predicted to grow by 1.9 per cent annually in the next decade, with e-Skills research forecasting 1,142,000 IT employees by 2016.