According to a study conducted by the Computerwoche*, a weekly German magazine for those working in the area of IT, there is a particularly high demand for IT contract workers in Germany right now.
Even though some companies employ an IT expert internally, just over fifty percent rely on an outside IT contractor to provide their IT services, and those who don’t require freelance services already have competent IT staff internally. Those who did not hire external IT contractors cited concerns regarding data protection and the handling of confidential information as the main reasons.
Contractors in the IT sector are well-paid, with some earning up to eighty euro an hour before tax. Forty-one percent reported having a turnover of more than a hundred and twenty thousand euro a year. This is partly due to the fact that projects are often ‘tailor-made’ to match the demands of the company without the need to hire contractors with the relevant skills permanently.
It seems that the key to being a successful IT contractor in Germany lies in what is known as the ‘price/performance ratio’: in other words, people want assurance that they are receiving value for money. Companies hiring independent IT contractors want to be confident that the contractor is competent, and has the necessary skills and experience to do the job. Often, companies are happy to pay whatever a contractor feels their service is worth, as long as their work is of a high standard.
Interestingly, the study also revealed that a vast majority of potential clients (eighty-nine percent) are looking for what the report refers to as ‘mixed teams’, in other words using a combination of internal and external IT experts in order to achieve the best results for their business. Sixty-nine percent of those survey were satisfied with this model of service delivery and felt that it worked well, and the popularity of these mixed teams has risen slightly in the last twelve months.
As with any independent contract work, it is crucial to promote yourself so that you will be noticed by potential clients & recruitment consultants. Establishing both online and face-to-face contacts will help to keep you ‘ticking over’. In addition, working with other contractors may result in you being offered bigger projects, working in conjunction with other contractors in your field. Should this situation arise, you should view it as an opportunity to make useful contacts who may be willing to offer you work in the future.