Contractors Looking Good in 2006

HotGigs.com, an online network that connects independent professionals to various contractual jobs, recently released the findings of its annual “State of the IT Contract Marketplace” study. According to the report, which was conducted toward the end of last year, 64 percent of respondents project their contract earnings to rise this year. This was especially good news considering more than half also reported that their income in 2005 was “below expectations.”


Nineteen percent of survey participants said they did not anticipate any growth in 2006 earnings, and 12 percent of them projected that their overall wages would decrease. Taken as a whole, however, the study’s findings show increasing optimism among self-employed IT workers, who in an April 2005 HotGigs survey saw primarily flat or decreased earnings in the first quarter of 2005.


IT contracting is an apparently lucrative field as it is: 21 percent of respondents said they bill between $100 and $149 per hour, and another 21 percent of respondents charge $75 to $99 an hour for their services. In addition, approximately 40 percent of them said they billed between $75,000 and $149,000 last year, with almost half of them reporting above $100,000. The highest-paying contractor specializations included technical project managers, IT managers and database developers.


Although more that a quarter (26 percent) of participants said they billed less than $30,000, HotGigs.com analysts theorized that this group was primarily made up of people who hold down full-time jobs with single employers and work on private projects in their spare time. Professionals in this segment also tended to take on short-term contracts, which lasted three months or less.


Surprisingly, about 23 percent of respondents said they did not actively seek new out any new contracts in 2005. About 27 percent looked for new contracts between two and five times throughout last year, while 19 percent hunted for them once a month on average. Most of the ones who did look for new contracts relied on relatively passive means of self-promotion. The top method of marketing among study participants was referrals, followed by client-initiated contact and contractor resources (HotGigs.com, for instance), respectively.


For more information, see www.hotgigs.com.

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