To contract or not to contract?

That is the question for the modern IT worker.

But one Australian recruitment company has made up its mind on the matter – it’s a contractor’s world.

“A contractor can pick and choose the roles that excite them, the roles that complement their skillset,” says co-founder of TechDirect, Sascha Kara.

“They’re excited to come to work and they know the role is only going to last six months or 12 months.”

On the flipside, the stability and job security that comes with a permanent role is now irrelevant for many.

“In full-time employment, you’re hired based on your skillsets and a role, but after a year that role can become quite stale,” continues Kara.

“Professionals in IT move around a lot anyway, I think it’s just a natural thing where roles become a little less relevant and they become disinterested, so they look for work that interests them.”

A study by recruitment company Hays last year found that 89% of IT contractors would recommend contracting to others, with earning potential and flexibility cited as the top pros.

With the business case for contractors now established and after identifying this industry trend, Kara wanted to create a platform that empowers contractors and gives businesses access to quality talent.

“I could see that businesses needed a single pane of glass, where they could access an on-demand workforce based on the skillsets that they needed for a project or role within the organisation for a fixed term,” he explains.

One-stop shop for talent

TechDirect is a marketplace that gives companies instant access to a specific talent pool.

It works to give businesses the ability to search for workers by their skillset and even by industry if needed.

Talent is mostly sourced either organically through social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Candidates don't pay to join.

In terms of ensuring a high quality of talent for businesses to choose from, Kara uses his 20+ years of experience in the IT sector to vet out the good from the bad.

The ability for contractors and businesses to speak directly also gives both parties a better indication of whether it is a good match, Kara explains.

As well as taking out the ‘middle man’ from the process, this also gives contractors the empowerment to work on their own terms.

“A candidate can dictate his or her terms, such as daily start times and how many days of work per week,” explains Kara.

“And they can dictate their rate of pay. The candidate is getting paid what they feel is their worth.”

TechDirect handles invoicing and payments once the terms have been set.

But is giving contractors the freedom to set their own rates a recipe for a shakedown?

“What the contractors understand is that there are a lot of other contractors with a similar skillset,” he says.

“It’s a competitive environment and they’ve got to price themselves well.”

Would you rather a 40% cut or a 10% cut?

Another key point of difference between TechDirect and traditional recruiters is commission.

Some recruiters take up to a 40% commission for securing contract work, whereas TechDirect sets a 10% service fee.

This means better take-home pay for the worker and more affordable pricing for the business.

And Kara hopes it’s something the industry takes note of.

“It’s about educating the market,” he says. “And that’s a bit of a slow burn.”

“I think a lot of organisations have a set way of finding resources, and that’s through a panel of recruiters.

“What we’re doing is quite disruptive and it’s empowering organisations to use our platform to find those resources directly.”

More workers, less security

A constant stream of IT workers – whether they be contractors or permanent staff – can create problems for a business, especially from a security standpoint.

“A trusted employee can always pose a threat,” says Kara. “Especially in the IT department, they have access to critical data.

“Mitigating that risk is very hard.”

But with many permanent IT workers now not even seeing out the first year of their contract, there are cases where it is beneficial to go down the contracting route.

“The benefit with a contractor is their role is clearly defined, so the access they have is clearly defined and you can plan their exit,” Kara says.

“You can control that access.

“When you have a full-time employee – especially in an IT capacity – when that role is defined, they have limited access, but when that role morphs into other roles, they gain more and more access to critical data and applications.

“I think the risk is heightened.”