For Freelancers

10 posts

Posted April 09, 2018 | Career Advice, Contracting, For Freelancers, Recruitment Advice, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Contracting: Positivity and Motivation

Searching for your next contract? Whether you’re well versed in contracting or you’re looking to find your very first contract, we, at Enigma People, understand just how frustrating the whole job seeking process can be. Securing your next role as soon as possible helps you to reduce downtime between contracts and of course, can provide a more certain financial future. Contractors can go through the job seeking process many times throughout their careers, which can become extremely tiresome. At Enigma People, we believe staying motivated during your search for contract work is truly important.

Read on to discover our advice on being positive and keeping motivated.

Learning Opportunities

As a contractor, it’s easy to lose enthusiasm for networking, writing applications and going to interviews. It’s such a regular occurrence that it can become wearisome, but we like to look at the positives.  Maintaining a positive-mind set throughout your contracting job search is greatly beneficial. Every application, every interview and every networking event should be seen as an opportunity that can make you a stronger candidate. Viewing tasks as opportunities, rather than tedious work, will guarantee a positive mind-set.

Do a little everyday

Contractors should continually be looking for opportunities that will help them to secure future work. Take advantage of social media to make connections, keep your LinkedIn up-to-date and ensure you’re attending networking events regularly. Building up a large network now will help you in your job search later.

Improve yourself

Going to an interview and not securing the job can be really disheartening. Improve your interviewing skills by asking for feedback. Don’t let your interview preparation efforts go to waste; you can gain some valuable information here. Plus, the feedback isn’t always negative, perhaps you were really close to landing the job but the other candidate had a more desired skill. Receiving positive feedback can lift your spirits and not-so positive feedback could just be the motivating factor you need to make a positive change.

Take time for yourself

We know that searching for your next contract can be exhausting, so remember to take time for yourself. Step away from the computer and chill. When you return, you’ll have newfound enthusiasm and, perhaps, a clearer insight into your career objectives.

Remember you’re a winner

Reward yourself for each successful job-seeking task. Sent a few job applications away? Time for a coffee. Had a successful call with a recruiter? Go outside for a change of scenery. Managed to secure an interview? That must call for a pint at the local! Rewarding yourself with mini treats after small wins can make the job-hunting process more satisfying.

Take the pressure off a little

Enigma People Solutions can help. We have built and are continuing to build a deep network of skilled contractors over the last 10+ years. This has allowed us to build a successful service, filling technology contract vacancies for businesses throughout the UK. For more information about our contracting function, why not check out our case study “Contracting – a case of success”. Alternatively, you can submit your CV here.

If you have any questions about Enigma People’s contract recruitment offering, whether you are looking for a contracting vacancy or if you’re looking for a highly skilled contractor, please get in touch and we would love to discuss how we can help you.


Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software. Check out our blog for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,  LinkedIn or Facebook  to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted September 29, 2017 | Contracting, For Freelancers, Recruitment Advice | No Comments »

Why You’re Struggling to Fill Your Contract Roles

As demand for specialist skills continues to grow, the supply can’t keep up and technology teams especially are facing competition which might not always go their way.

Contracting has for many years been a good flexible solution to the rise and fall of project demands but it has now become apparent that this is not the only factor which influences a business’s choice to recruit contractors. In the UK and globally we are experiencing a market, which is flooded with innovation and new technologies, it’s easy to see why the demand for contractors continues to rise. Couple this with the widening skills gap facing the technology industry at the moment and you begin to get a better understanding of why contractors are doing so well. A lack of skilled workers means that businesses are turning to contractors to find both the exact skills that they need and the reliability of an experienced worker. Even though contractors do come at a premium when compared to permanent staff; many argue their worth as being the best at what they do and that their in-demand skills allow businesses to solve their problems much quicker than it would take to source and hire a permanent member of staff.

The technology sector as a whole is experiencing steady growth, with research by global IT industry body CompTIA (using stats from Burning Glass Labour Insights and the ONS) showing that UK IT staff job postings have increased 10 percent year-on-year at 1.3 million IT job postings. The increase in job postings demonstrates the demand for new and niche skills as the marketplace changes to adapt to new areas of business. We have seen firsthand the continuously changing demand for skills across the sectors that we serve and the successes businesses have achieved as a result of taking on contractors. Contractor UK’s IT contractor skills that look hot for 2017 gave an insight into the predicted top skills that contractors will be recruited for this year. Here at Enigma, we have noticed that software development is still one of the most popular areas in which contractors work and market tracker IT Jobs Watch has set out The UK’s top 12 in-demand programming languages – how does your view of the market compare?

In addition to changing markets, the skills gap and increasing innovation, the contractors themselves are changing. ComputerWorldUK reports that “In 2016 just four percent of contractors were in the 18-24 year old bracket, now it is five percent, and the biggest segment is now 35-44 at 33 percent, instead of 45-54 at 35 percent in 2016.” This tells us that people who would normally not wish to risk a break in income are so confident that their skills are in demand that contracting is no longer as risky as it once seemed. This also puts significant pressure on the ability to hire and retain permanent staff. We have found that it is key when looking to recruit contractors that the change in demographics should be considered when marketing out, creating job adverts and trying to source the correct contractor for your business. Misunderstanding the demographics of your audience can hinder your progress and cause frustration for HR departments and hiring managers, especially when dealing with key projects.

So, how do you capture that essential resource to make sure your projects are delivered on time and to standard?

Simply advertising your vacancy and waiting for applications is not enough. You need to market your company proactively and positively, even for contract vacancies. Whilst polishing up your employer branding and recruitment processes are essential, be aware that your target market has an ever-increasing choice and your vacancy, benefits package and employee perks can get lost in the noise. How do you penetrate a ferociously busy market to find the right talent?

Enigma People Solutions has built and continues to build, a deep network of skilled contractors. This has allowed us to build an exemplary track record of filling technology contract vacancies for businesses throughout the UK for over 10 years now. If you have a contract vacancy to fill contact Ben Hanley on 0141 332 4422 or for expert consultancy advice.


Similar Reading:

[Interview] From the Perspective of a Contractor – Q&A

Who You Gonna Call? Contractors!


You can also find loads more expert information at Contractor Weekly.

Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our client services page to find out how we can help solve your recruitment problem. You can get in touch with us or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  Linkedin LinkedInor Facebook Facebook logo to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted June 06, 2016 | Contracting, For Freelancers, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

To Freelance Or Not To Freelance?

Freelancing continues to be a popular option for workers in the UK – 4.55 million Britons are now choosing to freelance and work short term contracts. Scotland is a popular place to be a freelancer, with Edinburgh and Glasgow among the UK cities with the highest number of registered freelancers skilled in development, web design, content writing and research.

Contracting has become popular for many reasons. It allows skilled workers in certain industries to choose which contracts they want to work and when. It provides freedom and flexibility from a traditional 9-5 way of working, often allowing freelancers the choice to work from the office, or remotely from home or abroad. Working a large number of jobs over a relatively short period of time means a freelancer’s CV racks up a broad range of experience and diverse skills. It allows you to be your own boss and benefit from higher rates of pay compared to those working the same roles on a permanent basis.

Cloud based platforms, apps and websites such as act like an “uber for jobs” making it even easier for freelancers to find work and for businesses to find contract hires.

Businesses choose to hire freelancers when they have a short to medium term project and/or need to hire in a specific skill set. In particular we see a huge demand for this in the Software Development industry, where skills are so in demand many businesses hire on a contract basis as this is all they can get. Candidates skilled in software development enjoy a premium rate of pay and are never short of job opportunities. The latest Markit UK Report on Jobs: Scotland, reports demand for contractors increased during January 2016 with the rate of growth the fastest for 3 months and above the average for 2015 as a whole.

While the freelance lifestyle may seem appealing on the surface, there are many downsides to consider. Job security completely disappears when working on a contract basis. There is no notice period if you were to be let go or if a project were to fall through. Working from home or working at a company temporarily, means contractors miss out on a sense of team, collaboration with colleagues and making friends at work. Other benefits such as holiday or sickness pay, company pension contributions and other health schemes are also non existent for contract workers.

Another downside of working for yourself is ensuring you are paid fairly and on time. Late payments are a huge struggle for freelancers – with invoices paid on average 18 and a half days after their due date. Almost half of all UK freelancers have considered quitting the freelance life due to late payments, chasing clients and having to rely on borrowing money to get by.

Despite these downsides, it is predicted that the freelancing popularity will grow – one in two people in the UK will be freelance by 2020. The BBC predicts we will see more professionals in sales, marketing, finance and law adopting a gig-economy mentality.

Freelancing has certainly changed the way the UK works and certainly has its benefits. We believe that contracting is a great solution to work, however it isn’t the right solution for everyone.

At Enigma People we have seen a trend in the contract technology industry – a high demand for short term work for those with up to date skills. In particular software developers who posses in demand programming skills, are well suited to freelancing. This is because they is no lack of job opportunities for them, which then reduces the need for job security. As soon as one contracts end, developers in Scotland often have two or three others to choose from.

Freelancing also benefits those who are flexible, open to risks and are able to up and leave a city if a job opportunity comes up. However for those whose skills are less up to date, or have a young family and bills to pay, freelance proves to be a risky option. For these individuals we believe working on a permanent role basis offers the necessary job security and benefits. Many modern companies address employees need for flexibility and freedom and will offer flexible working conditions, provide the required technologies for home and remote working, and can offer benefits which outweigh those which come with freelancing. Below are just some benefits and rewards which our clients offer their permanent employees.

Benefits & Rewards to Retain Employees | Recruitment Advice | Enigma People Solutions

With these in mind, would that sway your decision to stay in a permanent role over choosing a contract role? Let us know your thoughts! Drop us an email or tweet @enigmapeople

Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland.

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Posted July 14, 2015 | For Freelancers, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Will The Summer Budget 2015 Affect How We All Work?

Image: Serge Bertasius Photography

Image: Serge Bertasius Photography

The recent Summer Budget 2015, released on July 8th, has been described as an “attack on contractors” which will impact the contract heavy workforce we are headed toward. It is argued that the changes brought about by the Summer Budget limits the advantages of a limited companies, which the majority of contractors operate under. With an increase in dividend tax, a limit to NIC’s employment allowance and a stop to tax relief on travel and subsistence expenses, contractor’s cash flow will be heavily affected. (The key Budget announcements can be found here).

Contracting in the IT sector has reached historic levels of demand and has been brought about by a demand to fill jobs in software development, data science and digital marketing, which are said to be taking over the jobs market. The need for people skilled in programming & development, analysing data and utilising this information to make digital decisions has become crucial across every single industry. This recruitment solution has become popular as a way to fill gaps for highly demanded skills. It allows businesses to outsource skills and talent for a fixed period of time, providing a flexible workforce to cope with the ebb and flow of demand. It can provide a gap fill for specialist skills for certain projects, bringing in skilled staff who can get the job done and then move on. The companies needn’t spend time or money training staff or providing benefits and instead can offer contractors a higher rate of pay. It allows them to very easily bring in specialist skills they may otherwise not have access to, cover workload in case of holidays or sickness or just temporarily increase manpower and bring in fresh ideas for a specific project. For those who possess these in demand skills, they could truly benefit from the flexibility contracting allows them, including; choosing when to work, whom they work for, and for how long, and not to mention the premium salary rates.

The shift towards contracting has altered the tech industry dramatically, to the extent that some argue that “in the future, employees won’t exist”. Contracting has become the new normal for many tech giants including Cisco, Uber, and Microsoft -who employ nearly two-thirds as many contractors as full-time employees. As Tech Crunch describes, the changes for business models will be profound:

“For businesses, the changes are just as significant. Ultimately, businesses will consist of owners, talent assemblers, and contract workers for everything else. Platforms will spring up that know what contractors have certain skills, what they’ve done, and whether they’re available. Contractors will get instantly matched with talent assemblers. Entire teams could be hired with the click of a button.”

Another factor influencing shift towards a flexible workforce is the generation which is doing the contracting. Millenial’s are those aged between 18 to 34, who currently make up the largest portion of our workforce, and predicted to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. It is this age group who have grown up with native technology skills, are known to favour flexible working, adapt to change quickly and choose to only work with those companies who offer them the best career development. Their resilience and flexible approach to work means staying at one company for 10 to 15 years is now unheard of. Instead the average length of loyalty has become 4 years with some millienals averaging even less than this.

With the future workforce to be made up of a heavily contractual, millennial environment the Summer Budget 2015 does raise a lot of questions for contractors in IT. Despite this, some contracting experts argue that contractors should in fact benefit from the changes rather than lose out. argues:

“The abolition of the self-assessment tax return, significant investment in infrastructure, tax breaks for oil and gas firms, more flexible and Help to Buy ISAs and tax breaks on savings may all directly benefit contractors.”

The changes outlined in the Summer Budget 2015 wont take place until 2016 and so may be too early to determine to what extent these changes will be felt. What we do know however is any changes to the IT contract market will be increasingly felt by the overall job markets and by businesses in every sector. For us, providing business in the UK with IT contractors has been a crucial factor to our clients’ growth and one which we have seen evidence of growing steadily as a means to fill gaps for much needed skills in software development, analytics and digital media.

We’d love to hear your thoughts….Do you feel the budget changes will impact IT contractors and affect the overall future workforce? Tweet us /email

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Posted January 27, 2015 | Case Studies, Electronics, For Freelancers | No Comments »

SKF Scotland’s Search for Engineers

SKF Condition Monitoring Centre (Livingston) Scotland is a world leader in handheld vibration data collection technology for condition monitoring, supplying the major Original Equipment Manufacturers in this market. The company designs, develops and manufactures mobile industrial computers and application specific data collectors/analysers in the noise and vibration measurement field. Their experience in designing to Intrinsically Safe (IS) requirements has given the company a market leading position in IS data collector design. In order to enhance their team, SKF had a requirement for a number of hardware engineers, hardware test technicians, and project managers. With there being so little of this talent available in the market they had to find a mix of permanent employees and contractors.

Our strategy

Enigma People Solutions worked a mixed strategy including vacancy advertising and extensive UK wide and international search. Our process was to throw out the search to cover most of northern and western Europe. We really had to work hard to search internet groups, job boards, and utilize our networking contacts across Europe to identify and attract relevant candidates to the roles.

Challenges faced

The electronics market in Scotland is experiencing a “war for talent” as we see more companies preparing for growth, therefore requiring a significant number of available talented engineers. From a recruitment perspective it’s clear that the industry faces a significant challenge in terms of shortage of talent. The past 15 years have seen a decline in Engineering in Scotland.

Perpetuating the problem is that with the decline, and more importantly the perception of decline, there has been a “brain drain”. Scots looking for work have moved away, and other nationals being educated in Scotland have moved away. Many of our clients have found that “available engineer” is a lot easier said than found and there is a real struggle to find the available talent.

Our solution

Our solution was to dedicate the time and focus required for such a broad set of searches to cover most of Northern and Western Europe. We were competing against other agencies to fill these vacancies and believe our success lay in going out internationally rather than concentrating on the scarce local talent. The difference was that we understood that the candidate market is now international, if not global. We previously sourced an English candidate who was working in Ireland, a Spanish candidate living in Dublin and a Hungarian candidate living in Sweden to fulfil highly specialist technical roles for SKF. Our experience tells us that we need to go further afield to find the talent that this industry requires.

The results

We identified eligible candidates from Russia, Romania, Scotland, England and Poland who submitted to interview stage for the various roles. By pulling in candidates from further afield we were able to satisfy our client demands.

Our extensive search capabilities resulted in successfully filling the hardware technician vacancy, one permanent project manager vacancy, and also a contract project manager vacancy, all from out with Scotland. SKF Condition Monitoring Centre’s recruitment drive in January 2014 therefore resulted in 60% of their agency hires being made by Enigma People Solutions.

Supporting testimonial:

Mark Sansom – Engineering Manager – SKF Condition Monitoring

“SKF Condition Monitoring in Livingston requires highly specialist hardware and electronic design experts to help us deliver key projects to clients.

Often these rare people need to be sourced from outside of the local market. We have found Enigma People Solutions to be adept at understanding our needs and presenting candidates that are of interest. In identifying candidates internationally from locations such as Sweden, Italy and Ireland Enigma People Solutions has demonstrated a capacity to reach candidates that are instrumental to our business that we would otherwise not know of. This has been of significant value to us and has enhanced our capability to deliver complex solutions to our international clients.”

SKF Scotland’s Search for Engineers

SKF Scotland’s Search for Engineers

Join our specialist InElectronics Group on LinkedIn ic_lkdin_22Or follow us on Twitter @In_Electronics ic_twit_22.

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Posted April 28, 2014 | Contracting, For Freelancers | 1 Comment »

Is it High Time the IT Contracting Market Got a Wake Up Call?

Is it High Time the IT Contracting Market Got a Wake Up Call?

What we are seeing in the IT contracting market is the industry beginning to level out and pay rates reaching a saturation point, with pay cuts reflecting the disparity between what contractors expect and what companies are prepared to pay for them, according to Enigma People Solutions Director David Mains.

For too long now, large companies like RBS who employ thousands of IT contractors across the business have been a “cash cow” for some recruitment agencies and contractors, undermining what some companies are trying to achieve. Not only are some companies to blame for pushing up pay rates but David says IT recruitment agencies must take their fair share of responsibility for this rise.

Contracting is popular as it allows companies to outsource skills and talent for a fixed period of time, providing a flexible workforce to cope with the ebb and flow of demand. It can provide a gap fill for specialist skills for certain projects, bringing in skilled staff who can get the job done and then move on. The companies needn’t spend time or money training staff or providing benefits and instead can offer contractors a higher rate of pay. It allows them to very easily bring in specialist skills they may otherwise not have access to, cover workload in case of holidays or sickness or just temporarily increase manpower and bring in fresh ideas for a specific project.

This symbiotic relationship works well and can have many benefits to employers, recruiters and employees. With the IT industry however there became a supply and demand issue, where supply of skilled talent was low and so demand rocketed. Those who have abused the system have created the market situation we face today.

RBS, who is predominantly owned by the tax payer, has caused outrage in the past for ‘throwing money at contractors’ whilst in the process of cutting thousands of permanent staff. Companies like RBS attempt to circumvent hiring rules by taking on contractors to start expensive new projects. Projects which have only become so expensive due to the price paid for the contractors brought in to complete them. There are then recruitment agencies out there who will sell these services to the highest bidder and companies more than happy to pay this top price. What this has done is create a vicious circle continuously pushing up the pay rates contractors have become used to.

IT Contractors at RBS have now been hit with the decision to take a 10% pay cut or to quit, with many contractors’ 2 week notice only taking them to the end of the month. Contracting is deemed as a service and for any struggling business looking to cut costs, services are the first thing to get axed. With RBS looking to save £1 billion by the end of the year, a 10% pay cut across their thousands of IT contractors will help them save £65 million towards that goal. This decision interestingly comes just after Barclays announced a 10% cut in IT contractor wages across UK and America in March 2014, again in a bid to save money.

efinancial careers argues that the ‘most effective way of chopping contractor remuneration without experiencing an exodus of talent is to follow a ‘unionised’ method whereby all the major banks pull back at a similar time’. It seems this is what is happening at RBS and Barclays, however the Recruiter argues that their decision is short sighted and can only result in contracting talent leaving the business in search of pay rates they are used to getting. Contractors at Barclays reportedly refused to accept their pay cut and left, I wonder if RBS contractors will follow suit.

With wages 3 times the national average, IT contractors are the most in demand talent in the UK. This is a direct result of the skills gap we are currently experiencing for certain skills sets and the war for those that do posses the skills has created an unprecedented demand. IT contractors saw year-on-year pay increases spike up to 13%, between 2013 and 2014, according to Robert Walters Salary Survey 2014.

David argues that contractors who provide their services through their own limited companies should by all means also expect to be treated the same way as other suppliers, when end users ask them “to sharpen your pencils” in order to cut costs. Although the skills gap is far from being filled are we beginning to see the demand wane for the top rate contractors?

Unemployment has reached its lowest level for 6 years and this means a drop in the availability of a flexible workforce. More and more businesses are confident in their growth and hiring more on a permanent basis. What does this mean for the contracting market?

I suspect the market will pretty soon level itself out and businesses will no longer be able to pay out large scales for specialist skills and that’s exactly what we are seeing at RBS and Barclays. It isn’t just the Banks who are cutting down their contractors pay rates. In March this year the Office of National Statistics also issued its IT contractors with a pay ultimatum, stipulating they cut their rates by six per cent or face termination according to Contractor UK.

Is it high time the IT contracting market got a wake up call in order for demand and supply to reach equilibrium? Will other companies follow RBS and Barclays and cut the top rates they offer their IT contractors in order to save money?

Let us know your thoughts! Follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter @enigmapeople

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Posted January 13, 2014 | For Freelancers, Technology Industry | 1 Comment »

Demand for IT Contractors Grows but what are Contractors Demanding?

As you may have already heard contracting is set to become huge in 2014. Demand for contractors grew in the last quarter of 2013 at the fastest rate in two years and this trend is set to continue this year. It’s not just contracting; everybody is on the edge of their seat waiting to see if the expected growth of the UK economy overall will be as big as expected in 2014. (Apparently set to grow at is fastest rate for 7 years!)

Demand for IT Contractors Grows but what are Contractors Demanding?

Lloyds Banking Group’s survey of 1,500 UK businesses reports that UK Business confidence is running at a 20 year high with orders, sales and profits all forecast to rise. What this means is more business are in a position to hire and more vacancies to be filled. This boom has been notable in the IT contracting market for some time now. The demand for IT contractors is undeniably booming and well documented by Enigma with our ‘Contracting is Expanding‘, ‘Phil Leggetter on Developing, Contracting and Evangelising‘ and Contracting: The Excitement and the Dark Cloud Above It‘ blogs written over the past year. reports Glasgow saw the greatest demand for contractors for the second month running, and also experienced the greatest fall in contractor availability. Enigma has seen this firsthand with the demand for contractors across the entire IT industry remaining very strong but particularly for software developers.

With all this unprecedented demand for contractors it makes me wonder what are the contractor’s demands? Have their demands grown in line with the demand for their talent?

With more vacancies for candidates to choose from, it is now harder for business to attract and win the right talent for their businesses. Businesses need to be doing more to ensure the talent chooses to work with their business over another. Gone are the days where candidates will take the first job that is offered to them, rather they have various offers that they can choose from and hold more bargaining power when it comes to their contracts than ever before.

The demand for IT contractors is more prominent with Software Developers than any other roles because of their much sought after talent and specialist skills. If businesses with developer vacancies want to attract this specialist talent do they need to be offering more specialist perks? Should businesses be taking a leaf out of Google’s book and offer their employees top chefs for gourmet meals, games rooms and yoga classes? Or does this attract the wrong type of talent, those only interested in the perks and not the work?

When it comes to software developers, these are individuals who aren’t necessarily persuaded by money, rather they work for the pleasure of working, the challenge of solving problems and building something that matters. I recently read a blog by a software developer ‘Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money’. The top things included having excellent management, learning new things and having their hard work recognised. This was written in 2006 however each of these are still priorities candidates, not just developers, should see clients offering from the day one.

Above these though is there more clients can be offering to win the battle for the best contractors in the market? If you are a contractor in high demand, we’d love to hear from you! You are in high demand but what are your demands? What makes you to choose one contract over another? Or what would you like to see companies offering more of?

Let us know your thoughts by follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn and Twitter

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Posted November 12, 2013 | Contracting, For Freelancers | 2 Comments »

Contracting is Expanding: Is Contracting the New Reality?


Our recent blog ‘Contracting: The Excitement and the Dark Cloud Above it’ talked about the rise of contracting across the IT industry. With technology changing so rapidly the trend towards contracting means more and more businesses are bringing in short term contractors to solve their recruiting needs. In the past year Enigma has doubled the number of contractors placed with client’s right across the IT Industry. It’s evident that there is a rising demand. It’s interesting to see that clients require us to source contractors for roles right across their businesses, from first line support engineers to project managers and highly skilled specialist roles. It’s also interesting to see that the demand is growing right across all markets. We’ve recently placed contractors in a number of local and international software companies and electronic engineering companies as well as fixed term contractors at the likes of the Scottish Football Association and the NHS. The range of clients looking for contractors is quite remarkable. In the Electronics market particularly, contracting has been popular due to the lack of skilled local talent and the immigration constraints on international talent. As a result, demand for contract Software and Electronic engineers has been significant. As a short term fix offering flexibility and diversity for all those involved, contracting is great. For businesses whose long term growth may be unclear but whose immediate project requirements are, contracting allows them to bring in skilled staff, get the job done and then allow them to move on. The companies don’t need to spend time or money sourcing and training staff, and can focus their efforts elsewhere in the business. It allows them to very easily bring in specialist skills they may otherwise not have access to, cover workload in case of holidays or sickness or just temporarily increase manpower for a specific project. Clients and contractors have the added flexibility of various contract types to find their perfect fit – hourly paid, day rate and fixed term. Whilst we may take the trend of increase in contracting opportunities as a welcome and clear sign of the growth in the sector and the economy in general we are unclear whether this is also evidence that businesses remain uncertain about hiring long term due to uncertainty of how their businesses will grow and what their recruitment needs will be. Or, is this the new reality? Will businesses favour, as many have predicted, a much more fluid work place. Will technology professionals no longer nail their colours to one mast in favour of a more portfolio/project related existence? Whilst Enigma continues to source and provide clients with the specialist skills they require, for whatever length of time they require it for, I still believe we as an economy need employers to place an emphasis on long term hiring, investing and retaining employees. There is no doubt that the Technology industry in the UK is growing rapidly, last week the Chartered Institute for IT reported that the industry grew by double the rate of the economy as a whole. The sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) is now £72bn, 5% of the UK total. With such high growth rates will faith be restored in the economy, and will businesses account for this in their long term recruiting? Are employers now paying the price for being unable to invest in technologists sufficiently over the past 15 but especially past 5 years? Clearly for some skill sets there are not enough candidates to go round so some companies are being forced to resort to contractors to get work done! Let me know what you think – will contracting be the way forward or does long term hiring still have its place? Follow Enigma People Solutions on LinkedIn or on Twitter @enigmapeople for more updates, news and vacancies…

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Posted August 12, 2013 | Contracting, For Freelancers, Industry Interviews, Software | 2 Comments »

[INTERVIEW] Phil Leggetter on Developing, Contracting and Evangelising

Hello, Phil! First, tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

My name is Phil Leggetter. I graduated from the University of Stirling back in 2001 with a degree in Software Engineering. Since then I’ve worked for a few companies including Caplin Systems, ESRI, Bigmouthmedia and Pusher. I presently have a permanent role back at Caplin Systems and run my own company, through which I do occasional realtime web consultancy work. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do this via remote working from my garden office in Clackmannanshire.

Phil Leggetter on Developing, Contracting and Evangelising

My last two roles have come under the title of “Developer Evangelist”. I create demos, write tutorials, author screencasts, run workshops, give talks at events, facilitate hackathons, write content for destinations such as Smashing Magazine, .net magazine, on my own blog and have recently co-authored a book (Realtime Web Apps). Companies such as Twilio class this role as marketing – and it probably is – but it’s a technical marketing role with a reasonable amount of development and a hint of product management.

I think my situation reflects a change for a lot of developers who have to be aware of much more than just technical details; they have to market themselves, their applications and in many cases they are the ones being enterprising and running the businesses.

When you first started as a developer, did you relish in contract work or were you always looking for a permanent position?

The market has changed a lot since 2001. Back then I was just pleased to get any job.

Now there’s much more demand for developers from large institutions to individuals looking to hire for technical solutions to problems they have. Not to mention that every company seems to want an “App”.

So the choices when coming out of University – or leaving high school – are contract jobs, permanent jobs or creating and running your own product or service. A lot of University graduates definitely have the skills to do the latter now.

Do you think that contract work is beneficial for developers, or should companies take more people on permanent contracts?

As above, I really think it depends on the individual. Some prefer the apparent security of a permanent role whilst others are confident enough to believe they’ll get contract after contract, along with the associated higher rates to compensate lack of company benefits (holidays, pension contributions etc.).

The problem that I see with permanent roles at the moment is that some of them don’t offer the flexibility and opportunities to learn that different contracting opportunities do. This can be even why developers who are in permanent roles can change their jobs reasonably frequently.

If companies are looking to attract developers into permanent roles then I feel they need to offer flexibility of role, working conditions, location, technology, and plenty of learning opportunities.

Do you feel that the industry is in a position of growth at the moment?

Yes, and it has been for at least the past two years. At almost every event I go to nearly every company will be hiring.

What important developments do you see coming up in software development and the industry?

Mobile and web are going to continue to grow. And more established industries are going to continue the adoption of these technologies along with more recently developed technology platforms. This won’t result in a 100% swing away from established development technologies like .NET and Java, but it will mean that the demand for Ruby and Node.js (JavaScript) developers – and for those with knowledge in open source stacks built on these – will increase in areas outside of the startup scene.

What skills do young developers need to be learning in order to enter a level playing field when starting work?

Based on my experience working for a London Startup for the past couple of years, young developers need to be able to demonstrate that they already know how to build applications. They should have a portfolio of apps and creations; probably in github. The real point here is that it proves they are genuinely interested in programming. The ability to demonstrate an ability to write well structured and tested code is increasingly important and a knowledge of agile working practices can also be very beneficial.

Larger “industry” companies probably put less emphasis on actual creations and still put a high value on certificates and accreditation; diplomas, degrees and awards. But being able to demonstrate you can write reasonable code and follow good practices will also be important.

No matter where you work I think it’s important to have a passion for what you do. Now is a great time to be a developer as you have the opportunity to take a role that will be enjoyable and challenging. I feel it’s a very different playing field from the one I saw when I got my first job.

What are any problems you can see arising that will need to be solved?

I’ve been surprised over the past few years by some very successful contractors that I know moving to permanent roles. However, these developers have both been over 30, have families and have taken highly influential roles within the companies they’ve joined. I do wonder if this is a trend which may result in contractors tending to be younger and permanent employees being older? The only problems with this is that I think there is benefit in having a range of ages within a team and company to ensure different views, experience, influences and ideas are expressed.

In the circles I’ve recently been in there’s no doubt that the good developers are also entrepreneurial. This tends to mean that contracting with a view to building their own company is a strong possibility. For a company to be able to hire these developers they need to offer compelling reasons; an interesting product or service, good working conditions and benefits, and potentially stock options.

With the economy still struggling in places it’s strange to be in the technology bubble where opportunities are aplenty. But, don’t take this for granted as things may change. For now: work hard, be creative, learn, share knowledge and build relationships.

Connect with Phil on Twitter, and remember you can find Enigma People Solutions on Twitter @enigmapeople!

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Posted July 15, 2013 | For Freelancers | 2 Comments »

Contracting: The Excitement and the Dark Cloud Above It

With technology evolving so rapidly some people, such as software developers, are less interested in making long term contract commitments. No one knows what might change in the next year, and how their skills and interests will change as they keep up with current trends. As a result, contracting is continuing to be a more exciting option for developers, as well as being more convenient.

Contracting: The Excitement and the Dark Cloud Above It

photo by -JosephB- on Flickr

With so many changes happening within technology, and with them happening so often, developers are finding it harder to commit to long term contracts and find that it can be more rewarding to consistently change scenery to find the latest and most exciting projects to work on.

As IT recruiters, we’ve seen a steady increase of contract work within Scotland. Ramassa, our specialist in this area, has noticed this increase and has seen the benefits from it for both clients and candidates.

“When companies need specialised skills or increased manpower to complete a project on time, they often turn to contractors.

We have successfully been able introduce contractors to our client, resulting in win – win situations. Contractors are able to jump in at a moment’s notice, fill the skill gap and do exactly what’s required.

This means that they are paid, very well in some cases, for their knowledge and flexibility and given the opportunity to gain an understanding of how different environments work, and can often result in them picking up extra skills along the way.”

While it has its many benefits the problem with contracting, and the issue that the industry still is not addressing, is that companies are hiring them due to nervousness about taking people on permanently, and the worry that if they do take developers on permanently and train them as they should, they’re simply setting them up to be headhunted.

Not enough businesses are investing in long term hires because they don’t think they can. They’re unsure about long term funding and feel more comfortable with hiring someone on a short term basis, not risking a negative impact the rest of the business.

There is definite uplift and activity, but nobody is quite sure of how long it will last. Where we have been skilled is in managing to fill increasing number of these contract jobs; having strong networks and finding candidates both local and as far afield as Poland and Lithuania. We have a good reputation on the way we treat our contractors and we work with clients that not only are well respected and trusted, but also treat us and the contractors well. We are rapidly solving many clients’ short to medium term problems.

But in order to shift the dark cloud of uncertainty above the heads of these businesses, we need to start making changes and taking risks. Developers need to be given the chances that they deserve; being hired and trained within permanent roles and strengthening the developer talent in the industry.

If you’re a developer looking for new opportunities, permanent or contract, get in touch! Email us at or give us a call on 0141 332 4422 for a chat about how we can help. You can also find us on Twitter @enigmapeople

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