Interim contracting is an attractive second career for seasoned IT pros who wish to leave the permanent workforce and have a better work-life balance. As the average age of workers creeps upwards - after October 1 2011 there will be no mandatory retirement age - more mature workers are considering the interim option.
Check out why and how to do it.
Enjoy higher rates
Interims working in IT saw their pay rise by around 20% in the past six months (calculate your contractor salary), according to interim specialists, Russam-GMS. A market survey of 12,000 interims saw their average daily rate rise from of £540 in December 2010 to £656 a day in June this year.
Over half of all interim managers are in their fifties and they command the highest pay of all age groups.
Have a cash cushion
The average interim or contractor works 160 days a year out of the 200-230 days available for freelance work. You’ll certainly need extra funding to tide you over and give you peace of mind during the times you’re not on a contract.
How much you need depends in your lifestyle and whether you have a partner that’s working.
Prepare to juggle
Many interims have two or three clients on the go at the same time, particularly if they work for small and medium businesses. SMBs like to hire independent IT experts to help them devise strategy or make significant purchases, but do so on a smaller scale.
So your contract may be for a couple of days a week or even per month. Multiple revenue streams mitigates risk, but makes the business of organising holidays harder - you’ll have to clear it with more than one client.
Prepare to stay
The public sector, in particular, may be reluctant to recruit a permanent member of staff for any role they believe is short term. Contractors and interims should be prepared for the long-haul, but it’s good business after all.
Mine new business
The business model of some sectors and organisations favours the interim because they don’t appear on the payroll. A key skill of the interim is therefore learning how to spot and pitch for new opportunities with existing clients.
Age no barrier
Age prejudice doesn’t exist in interim management; it is a meritocracy where experience and knowledge is valued highly and the best candidate will always get the job. Maturity is also important because avoids naive mistakes being made.
But interim management is not for the faint-hearted and will suit people who relish the challenge of running a small business .
With thanks to Charles Russam, chairman Russam-GMS
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