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Poll reveals typical IT contractor characteristics

A leading contractor accountancy firm has published the results of a major survey into contractors’ attitudes, based on the responses of over 1,000 limited company clients.

The poll, conducted by SJD Accountancy, pains a fascinating picture of the ‘typical IT contractor’.

Almost 9 out of 10 are men; 77% are in their 30s or 40s, and almost two thirds have been contracting for three years or more.

80% are working on private sector assignments, with the remainder working on public sector contracts.

Asked about the reasons why they first went contracting, 75% of respondents said it was a conscious choice, rather than one made out of necessity (e.g. due to redundancy).

Unsurprisingly, most of those polled are positive about their decision to go contracting, and about the ongoing benefits of being a contractor. Higher rates (60% of respondents command fees of £400 or more per day), flexibility and freedom are cited as the most important aspects of the contracting life.

Despite the inevitable dampening effect of the economic downturn since 2008/9, most contractors are positive about the current market as well as prospects for the future. 65% are positive about the current state of the market, and 85% are positive about being contractors.

It is a well-known fact that most contractors never regret their decision to leave the world of permanent employment; this is firmly backed up by the results of the SJD survey. 76% don’t miss the ‘benefits’ afforded to traditional employees, and a mere 7% said they would definitely return to a permanent role if an opportunity were made available.

When asked which websites they use to keep up-to-date with the latest contracting news, the most popular were the PCG and Contractor UK sites.

According to the survey, 36% found their current contract via an agency, 21% by personal contacts, 14% direct with an end client, and a mere 11% through job boards. This statistic once again demonstrates the importance of networking – as a large proportion of all contracts are offered to contacts of existing project team members before they are offered to agencies.

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