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IT Contractors Surveyed

The fast trackers in the Information Technology industry tend to earn as much as 20% more than their full-time peers. Employers are willing to pay a premium to access these specialized skills. At the high and low ends of the wage scale are those who are either part-time by choice, semi-retirees, or new entrants into the industry and/or contractor sector. There is a high correlation between number of acquired skills, and years of experience. As a result of this level of experience and diverse skill bases, the majority of Independent Contractors report average annual incomes between $40,000-$99,000. Those in their early 40's and older, with 10+ years of experience, peg out the maximum wages of $75,000-$150,000 or more (see Table 1 below).

Certainly the level at which a contractor works factors into their compensation structure as well. In other words, the chiefs who oversee large interdepartmental projects, will command higher rates than their brethren in straight programming or administration of smaller scale jobs.

Controlling their Career Path
Data shows that I.T. professionals begin to switch in significant numbers into independent contracting between their third and fifth years (see Table 2 below). Though the choice to branch out on one's own is growing in popularity, there is currently a relatively low number of experts in this discipline, driving the demand for temporary employees with strong technical backgrounds.

Further, I.T. contractors who responded in this survey seem to have the clear advantage over their full-time corporate colleagues in the length of workweek. Only 25 % report they work over 40 hours, and in fact, 68 % reported working between 31-40 hours per week. What these numbers may not factor in, however, is the administrative hours logged in by independents that do their own marketing, tax paying and other business support functions.


The Gender Issue
As we entered the new century, the technology sector still has a huge gap in the ratio of males to females in the industry. This trickles down to the contractor pool where 76% of the survey respondents were male, 17% were female and 7% did not identify their gender. Although there are definitely noticeable differences in wages between men and women in the overall economy, as high as 25-30%, it is not as apparent in I.T. contracting. There seems to be more equity, with only about a 5% difference on average, taking into account both age and experience level.