Some IT Staffing Firms Hire More Contractors in Economic Downturn

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Mitch Paioff, a guest columnist for IT Business Edge and an IT careers consultant, recently interviewed three IT staffing firm executives, asking them, "What changes have you seen in your business over the past six to 12 months?"


Deborah Vazquez, CEO of PROTECH, an IT staffing firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said her business has flipped from being direct hire driven to contract driven.


"Many companies are just not willing to bring in full-time employees. Fortunately, we've seen our contract business more than make up for that. So it's a complete reversal. A year ago, 47 percent of our business was contract, and 53 percent was direct hire. Right now, we're looking at 70 percent or more that is contract, and less than 30 percent is direct hire. Two years ago, it was exactly the opposite of that, with 70 percent direct hire and 30 percent contract."


Paioff writes about becoming a consultant or contract employee in his book, "Getting Started as an Independent Computer Consultant." A book excerpt, which focuses on marketing yourself, is available in the Knowledge Network.


A lower demand for IT services has every company looking for ways to reduce costs, says Tom Campbell, CEO of Quick Solutions, an IT staffing firm based in Columbus, Ohio.


"When it comes to IT, they're looking internally. They're looking at hardware expenditures and software purchases. They are also looking at their headcounts and how their IT departments are staffed."


But many of the hits taken by IT companies are lowering as the economic situation flattens out, said Mike Logan, president of Axis Technology, a Boston-based IT staffing firm. And for those looking to get hired, there are a few skill sets that stand above others including strategy planning, data architecture and data management, he said.