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Old 06-20-2019, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
8,788 posts, read 13,274,979 times
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In my field noone likes being a contractor. The agencies provide no or joke benefits, pay a little as 1/2 of what a direct hire job pays, offer no raises, career development etc. The only plus was I did not have to deal with corporate HR and their junk science and could focus on doing the job I was hired to do. Other than that it was @ss rape.

I would not recommend Biology/Chemistry as a result of low quality employers using staffing agencies to mistreat workers.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:47 PM
 
2,561 posts, read 2,923,358 times
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For the IT work I'm familiar with usually the larger companies such as IBM, Cisco, etc. hire people on as contractors initially. IBM keeps new hires on as contractors long term, not sure about in higher positions. For other smaller-sized private-sector companies, it still varies tremendously.

Last edited by maus; 06-20-2019 at 03:30 PM..
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:49 PM
 
2,561 posts, read 2,923,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDrums View Post
I know of at least one person that has been on contract at the same company for over ten years.

If I am lying, I'm dying.

I know someone at IBM in a similar situation, still a "contractor" after a decade already.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:12 PM
 
1,604 posts, read 1,119,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maus View Post
I know someone at IBM in a similar situation, still a "contractor" after a decade already.
I've been a contract tech writer at IBM for 3+ years. I have a co-worker who's been a contractor for more than 9 years. There are a bunch of us contractors and just a handful of permanent staff. We will never be made permanent. It's just the way things work now.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,561 posts, read 3,001,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kthnry View Post
I've been a contract tech writer at IBM for 3+ years. I have a co-worker who's been a contractor for more than 9 years. There are a bunch of us contractors and just a handful of permanent staff. We will never be made permanent. It's just the way things work now.
Good thing no one ages while working contract. Can you imagine, say, having to get a new contract at 51?
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:31 PM
 
2,561 posts, read 2,923,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kthnry View Post
I've been a contract tech writer at IBM for 3+ years. I have a co-worker who's been a contractor for more than 9 years. There are a bunch of us contractors and just a handful of permanent staff. We will never be made permanent. It's just the way things work now.

That sounds like my friend's situation over at IBM. The technical people at the company who have been there, say 2 decades+ are FTEs.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:45 PM
 
1,853 posts, read 713,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kthnry View Post
I've been a contract tech writer at IBM for 3+ years. I have a co-worker who's been a contractor for more than 9 years. There are a bunch of us contractors and just a handful of permanent staff. We will never be made permanent. It's just the way things work now.
That's right. Contracting and gigs are the way to go. That kind of work will be expanding steadily as it offers employers clear advantages. As for workers, no, only disadvantages.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,701 posts, read 4,667,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusinessManIT View Post
That's right. Contracting and gigs are the way to go. That kind of work will be expanding steadily as it offers employers clear advantages. As for workers, no, only disadvantages.
It may seem that way and we certainly all see the overuse of contractors, but I would say there is hope, as I think there are more companies than we realize who are seeing the pitfalls in this and will adjust a bit if not snap back the other way. For example as noted previously, I am here in Seattle where we have a massive tech industry- with the giant Amazon world headquarters just a couple blocks down the street from me. They were always mostly FTE with some contractors- but they made an adjustment a year or so ago moving away from almost all contractors and switching to FTE staff. They do still use contractors for truly short term project type of work, so at any given time there are a lot of contractors there- but anybody who is needed long-term has been moved to FTE. As crazy as it sounds there are benefits to companies in doing this- there is a huge profit margin for staffing agencies built in to the bill rates for contractors so they are expensive, and at many levels it makes more sense financially to convert contractors to FTE.

Another aspect are the non-financial issues that come with using contract staff. They (especially at the lower levels) are unhappy in those roles as the pay and benefits are poor, so they are not as satisfied with their work, they have much more turnover than FTE staff do, and that is a real burden for organizations. You can even put a financial cost on all of that and it's huge when you consider the time it takes to bring in the next person train them up, etc. So I see quite a few organizations here in my local area really paying attention to that and really doing something about it.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:16 PM
 
1,853 posts, read 713,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
It may seem that way and we certainly all see the overuse of contractors, but I would say there is hope, as I think there are more companies than we realize who are seeing the pitfalls in this and will adjust a bit if not snap back the other way. For example as noted previously, I am here in Seattle where we have a massive tech industry- with the giant Amazon world headquarters just a couple blocks down the street from me. They were always mostly FTE with some contractors- but they made an adjustment a year or so ago moving away from almost all contractors and switching to FTE staff. They do still use contractors for truly short term project type of work, so at any given time there are a lot of contractors there- but anybody who is needed long-term has been moved to FTE. As crazy as it sounds there are benefits to companies in doing this- there is a huge profit margin for staffing agencies built in to the bill rates for contractors so they are expensive, and at many levels it makes more sense financially to convert contractors to FTE.

Another aspect are the non-financial issues that come with using contract staff. They (especially at the lower levels) are unhappy in those roles as the pay and benefits are poor, so they are not as satisfied with their work, they have much more turnover than FTE staff do, and that is a real burden for organizations. You can even put a financial cost on all of that and it's huge when you consider the time it takes to bring in the next person train them up, etc. So I see quite a few organizations here in my local area really paying attention to that and really doing something about it.
I do hope that this does turns around, however many companies see the $$$ of saved labor costs and the temptation of keeping and expanding gig work may be too great, even if the quality of work is lower and the companies suffer credibility hits. It could get to the point where gig work is the only game around, so that top talented professionals who used to be able to write their own ticket would have to hold their nose and accept gig work with no benefits or not be able to work at all.

I've seen companies gladly trade off quality and reputation for saving a few extra bucks in labor costs. The short term bottom line is what is the most important in many organizations.

I've seen wage degradation in IT since the 1980s. Many companies could have grabbed top talent by offering wages way above the competition, but most won't. It could be the same with the encroaching gig work. As it expands, companies could get top talent by keeping FTE positions with decent salaries. But many companies are ending their pension programs for their employees, so that is discouraging. It seems the will is to cut and cut and not add or compete for talent.

Only time will tell if this turns around. I am not holding my breath.

Last edited by BusinessManIT; 06-20-2019 at 05:57 PM..
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:31 PM
 
653 posts, read 308,337 times
Reputation: 1225
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
This may be a way of life for many who are, say, government contractors. But I wouldn't be so quick to say "it's not that bad" to be a contractor - the company specified contractors for a reason, instead of hiring FTE. That should say something.

What should it say? Employer is not govt.
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