Companies looking for IT help moving away from contractors

Technical recruiters understand that their industry has been dominated by contract workers for a number of years. The reasons for this are many. For one, IT is an industry where level of skill dictates compensation. A regular programmer will command a much larger annual salary than an SQL server database administrator.

If you factor in other components of a compensation package, such as health and life insurance, 401K and other benefits that regular, full-time employees enjoy, it can become very expensive for an organization to hire someone with a needed skillset on a permanent basis. This is one of the reasons why hiring contractors is ideal.

It's far more cost effective for a company to pay a supplemental staffing agency a flat rate for a worker because there are no additional financial obligations. In addition, certain IT professionals with certain areas of expertise understand that there will always be a need for their services. For them, it becomes more advantageous to do project-based assignments as it gives them an opportunity to be more flexible in terms of the companies they decide to work for. However, there appears to be a dramatic shift occurring in the industry that technical recruiters should be aware of.

Full-time IT hiring on the rise
A recent report from Georgia-based newspaper The Augusta Chronicle, highlighted the opening of a new, 6,000-square-foot information technology center owned and operated by Unisys that is expected to staff as many as 700 workers. To help secure talent, the company will partner with a local staffing agency to screen and present candidates who have the skill and experience requirements outlined by Unisys.

"[The open positions] are primarily going to be level one and level two service desk agents and accompanying operational function and support management," said Tracey Laurence, who serves as Unisys' vice president of end user services. "The pay will be very competitive for those roles in this job market. From a skill standpoint, we're looking for people with an associate's degree or diploma and people with a couple of years of experience with technology and/or customer support services."

What is happening in Augusta is in line with a full-time hiring trend in information technology that is taking place across the country. A recent report from ComputerWorld, citing a study conducted by Computer Economics that polled 200 information technology forms, found that the use of IT contractors in companies have been steadily on the decline.

The website stated that in 2012, 17 percent of those working in IT departments were contractors. In 2013, that number had dropped to 15 percent and this year, only 10 percent of IT departments have contract workers.

"There's a good explanation why it is trending down – because people are hiring," John Longwell, vice president of research at Computer Economics told ComputerWorld.

This shift is largely tied to improvements in the economy and technical recruiters need to begin adjusting their sourcing strategies. They should begin to look for those with IT experience who are interested in working on a full-time, permanent basis, as opposed to being in a contract or project-based situation.

Supplemental staffing agents in the IT sector, particularly those who have had success placing people in temporary opportunities, would be wise to begin developing their candidate pools by reaching out to those that have already been put into opportunities.

One truth about the staffing industry is that, generally speaking, a person with a particular set of skills will always know someone who possesses the same level of talent. Asking for referrals from IT professionals that a technical recruiter has already placed on an assignment could be beneficial, particularly if this person is inclined to express their gratitude by connecting his or her agency representative with someone in their professional network.