Why Consultants Want Fulltime Roles & What They Should Know When Transitioning

By Ashleigh Huckabey

The flexibility of contract roles can be enticing to some. Many IT professionals venture out on their own, creating consulting firms and hitting the ground running searching for clients. While this lifestyle works for a few, some consultants want out.

Why? Depending on the consultant it could be one or several of the following reasons. The most frequently cited motive is the desire for consistent income. When one contract ends, sitting on the sidelines until you find your next project can be stressful. Whether it’s difficult for you or not, the time it takes to corral a new client is time you aren’t being paid. That isn’t the case with full time roles. Other consultants are looking for more regular schedules, benefits, a collaborative team opportunity or a leadership role. Whatever the reason for the transition, consultants should know a few things before making the switch from contracts to full time roles.

Make sure it’s what you really want. Have you had a particularly rough few months but, on the whole, a great experience as a consultant? Evaluate your situation before switching to full time. Keep in mind you often have to give up a bit of autonomy in your work. Similarly, when you’re a consultant and one or two clients drop you, chances are you have a few others currently going or in the works. If you were to get fired from a permanent role however, your entire compensation is gone. That being said, it is typically much easier for a corporation to fire a consultant than it is to fire a full-time employee.

Are you ready for the fiscal responsibilities? Along with a complex tax transition, you need to be prepared to price yourself appropriately. This won’t be as simple as multiplying your hourly rate into a yearly salary. Take into account any overhead or out-of-pocket fees that are built into your income. When you become a permanent employee, incidental expenses are no longer an issue because the company will absorb them. However, this will more than balance out with the multitude of benefits fulltime roles offer. Income stability, potential raises and promotions will all accelerate your salary periodically. On top of that, you’ll often be given benefits like paid time off, insurance assistance and others that will improve your work life balance.

If you’re ready to make the switch but have a project to wrap up, it’s important not to leave them high and dry. Help out by completing any open projects or creating a detailed document of your previous work so that it’s easy for the next person to pick up where you left off. Perhaps you know a trustworthy consultant to suggest as a replacement so that, if they need it, they have help filling your role.

Transitioning from consulting to full time can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Take the steps above and you’re sure to have a head start. We also recommend refreshing your resume with detailed explanations of your various projects so that employers understand, while you were out of the fulltime IT game, you were not just sitting on the sidelines. If you’re ready to make the switch we wish you luck and we’re here to help!

See Priscilla’s article, “It Starts With the Resume”, to help you get your job search off on the right foot!

2 Comments

  1. I always stayed with “perm” salaried jobs, even the few years I spent with consulting firms that farmed me out by the hour. From that perspective I can assure the hourly people that its no picnic to live with “salary” pressure either. Imagine always having to make sure you work at least 40-50 hours a week to meet the minimum quota, AND always having to check your accrued PTO before taking a sick day, or floating holiday, or vacation day. How liberating it must be to work and bill hourly, and just call in sick or schedule when you want to take off regardless of minimum quota or accrued PTO.

    So I wonder if the best compromise might be to work for a firm that offers reasonable insurance and other benefits similar to a “perm” salaried job as long as you bill some minimal average hours per week, but also escape the “salary” pressure by working hourly and forgo the accrued PTO and holiday pay?

    • Chelsea Babin

      Mike, your solution certainly sounds like a reasonable compromise between the two. Maybe the IT industry will eventually transition to make these firms more common?

      If not, it’s definitely important to note that some companies even offer benefits like unlimited PTO now! As the market gets competitive these creative benefits are cropping up at more and more permanent jobs. But, like you said, if the salary pressure is a deal breaker certain organizations may not work for every individual. It’s all about finding the right fit for you.

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