Blog, Software Development

5 Reasons Your IT Enterprise Should Consider Contract Consultants Over Salaried Employees

Living in a digital age has its advantages. However, IT enterprises face the toughest challenge. With a constant barrage of new business applications and technology and an ever-increasing legacy line of business applications, the ability to hire top software engineering talent can be taxing. Here, we offer five reasons these resource-challenged organizations are choosing contract consultants over full-time employees.


1. Lower Risk

Having contract consultants reduces a company’s risk from a headcount, legal, and budget standpoint.

The challenge of attracting talent shifts from the hiring company to the solutions firm. We work with many clients whose core competency is not software. They rely heavily on our technical expertise and two decades of placing top software engineering talent. Regardless of what your company’s core competency is, however, the key is finding a qualified partner who has a bench of consultants and doesn’t present anyone with a pulse.

The risk of terminating a salaried employee (and any severance obligations) also is removed. In some cases, you can stop a contract for a contingency worker much easier than you can for a full-time equivalent if the person doesn’t work out.

Several IT enterprises are also finding that they are reducing their budget risk by creating a budget bucket for contract consultants. By allocating funds to a budgeting bucket, many of our clients gain more efficiency and reduce the risk of bringing a salaried employee on board whose role may change or a different skill set is needed long term. Which brings me to our next point—greater flexibility.

2. Greater Flexibility

Projects change, technology changes, and timelines change. Hence, IT enterprises we typically work with prefer a variable workforce. This allows them to expand and contract teams rapidly based on project needs. It also relieves them of having to pay a “bench” of workers.

We work with clients who have become very creative in how they use contract consultants. Some companies can’t hire salaried employees because there isn’t budget, but they can hire contractors. Others go this route to have a more agile IT enterprise. Yet others hire contract consultants while they continue their search for a salaried employee to avoid project delays and a backlog of work.

3. Larger Talent Pool

Depending on the role within an IT enterprise, some positions may be more difficult to fill, such as .NET engineers. Finding that “diamond in the rough” in a competitive market may be a bigger obstacle than you think. We also find that companies in high-growth mode can’t find multiple software engineers at once due to the competitive market.

Many of the roles that we fill require either specialized skills or a wide breadth of experience. That’s where having a large pool of consultants from which to pull from locally and abroad can help.

One of our long-term technology clients needed to build a team of six software engineers at varying levels to support the development of a Java-based workload automation system that integrated with more than 20 platforms (e.g., Business Objects, Cognos, Informatica, Hadoop, PeopleSoft, etc.). We delivered senior engineers with heavy Java back-end, Core Java, and experience working with multiple platforms in less than three weeks.

In many instances, roles such as these can go unfilled for months. Having a partner with bench consultants who have expertise in highly sought technologies, such as Java or .NET can be a huge advantage.

4. Less Red Tape

It’s reasonable to expect companies to want to hire salaried employees who have an opportunity to meet all the necessary stakeholders and requirements (e.g., assessments, cultural fit, background checks, etc.). These hiring practices, however, can lengthen the time to hire. One client had a hiring cycle time that was more than 30 days. In a competitive market, you’re lucky if a candidate is on the market for that long.

Firms that provide contract consultants have already performed background checks, qualified candidates through testing and prior work performance, etc., hence many of the traditional hiring steps can be eliminated.

5. Faster Ramp Up

As mentioned, finding a great salaried employee or several employees at one time could take months. Forte Group operates like a consulting firm in that we have a “bench” of consultants from which to choose. The term “bench time” refers to the time spent in between engagements as a software professional while working for a solutions firm. Clients get immediate deployment capability when working with our benched consultants.

Unlike traditional staffing firms who often present candidates not fully vetted or tested in hopes they make it through the process, our “bench” IT professional are fully vetted and go through rigorous testing. We know first-hand from earlier engagements what their capabilities are, where their strengths lie, and their job performance. We have recommendations directly from other clients served.

How to Choose

It’s a business decision to choose salaried employees or contract consultants. However, given the challenges around finding top tech talent these days, many companies, ranging from small to very large, have taken the contract consultant approach to ease the burden. Those companies who find the right partner with the expertise and bench can generate better business outcomes.

View currently available contract and contract-to-hire consultants.

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Vera has nearly 20 years of business development, account management, and client delivery experience. She has been part of the Chicago tech and non-profit communities for more than a decade in both leadership and active member roles. Vera's passion is working with companies to advance their business through technology.