Key Differences Between Permanent And Contract IT Recruitment

contract it recruitment

In these past two weeks, I have started a new role in marketing with VIQU! As excited as I am to start working here, there are many different aspects to the IT recruitment industry, I was not previously aware of. As I am settling into my new role with VIQU, I have been having lots of conversations on what the key differences are between permanent and contract IT recruitment. Here are some pearls of wisdom I’ve learned from my experienced recruitment colleagues:

Permanent and Contract IT Recruitment: Stability vs Flexibility

This appears to be one of the main factors involved in professionals deciding whether to take up either permanent or contract IT work. Since the pandemic and with the ongoing cost of living crisis, knowing you have a stable salary coming in every month can be important to numerous employees. A permanent job can give this stability through job security.

Contracting jobs, on the other hand, might not give you as much stability, but they do give you some flexibility. You can choose the projects you want to work on and when you would like to work. Some contractors take several weeks off between each contracting job for holidays, and time off with family. By knowing when each contract will end, they can plan accordingly.

Building Relationships

It’s like marmite. There are many who enjoy making friends and connections in the workplace and, others that are not too bothered.

In a permanent IT role, you are blessed with lots of time to get to know your team and grow in your role. You are likely to build solid relationships with your colleagues, although the amount of these connections might be limited by the size of your company.

On the other hand, IT contractors tend to meet lots of new people as they move between contracts. These might be surface-level friendships given the short duration of some contracts, but you’ll probably make lots of them and rack up loads of LinkedIn connections!

Generalist vs Specialist

Creating a career whereby you have complete control over the types of projects you work on can be very attractive for some IT professionals. This can be made possible through contract IT recruitment. As a contractor, you have the opportunity to specialise in a technical area of your choosing and only take on projects which match your skillset to a T! Unlike with many permanent roles, you can focus solely on the project you are contracted to work on and not be distracted by other everyday tasks.

Permanent jobs tend to give you the opportunity to work on new projects and expand your skillset, whereas this sort of exposure can be limited in contracting. In a permanent job, there’ll be an expectation for you to take on a variety of tasks depending on the needs of the business. This can bring great benefits as you’ll develop your skillset and experiences in other areas.

Pay Structure

Permanent employees and contractors are paid in different ways. Contractors agree daily rate before starting a new contract, whilst permanent employees have a salary that they receive monthly. This can be the main attraction for contract IT recruitment, as contractors are often savvy in negotiating a higher pay. Although daily rates tend to work out to be higher than the equivalent permanent salary would be, the lack of stability and uncertainty of when you’ll next be employed can put off some permanent employees from giving contracting a go.

Educated permanent employees know that they are not necessarily earning as much as their contracting counterparts, however, there is always the option to negotiate a higher salary as you become more experienced and familiar within a company. The way an IT professional wants to earn their living depends entirely on their circumstances and priorities.


Contractors often work through umbrella companies and do not tend to qualify for the same level of benefits compared with a permanent employee. As contractors are not employed by the client directly, if the client’s company offers generous benefits, it is unlikely a contractor will be able to access them. This is something to take into consideration if you are thinking of moving to IT contracting.

For example, as a contractor, you will also need to organise and fund your own training and accreditations. Companies are more likely to support, train and upskill permanent staff, as this will have a positive impact on their projects and long-term goals.


Overall, both types of employment have advantages and drawbacks. Whether you are looking into changing between types of job roles for your next position, or are simply curious about the advantages of contracting and permanent employment, it all boils down to what suits you and your circumstances.

Permanent jobs can bring a lot of stability and security, but contract work can give you new experiences, higher pay, and the ability to meet new people and move on from companies easily.


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