Coolio is our resident contractor who can help you best, on my side I did:
- Major UK Bank grad scheme
- Up through the ranks
- Management Consulting
- Back in a different Major UK (investment arm) bank as a permie
Should you go contracting? Only you can answer that, you will no doubt know lots of contractors and you will be getting lots of conflicting advice:
- "Do it! You will earn bucket loads more!"
- "Careful, the government is now going after contractors..."
- "You can spend months between contracts with nothing, using up the war chest and each year be earning same as a permie"
- "You only pay 0.000001% tax! Its a money making machine!"
- "You are treated like a piece of disposable expensive meat"
Truth is, every contract is different from the last. Some contracts you are treated just like the employees around you, its a great environment. While in others its toxic, they hate you for earning "far more" while doing what they think is the same work (don't bother trying to explain no pay for holidays etc). Tax is indeed higher now and you have a number of costs re insurance, accountant etc.
My advice? Honestly? Stay with your successful career rather than contracting.
You have a good career with Accenture, the contracting market at the moment is extremely competitive with lots of people being laid off trying their luck in contracting. Do not trust recruiters, trust your closest friends and your feel for what is going on in your market.
Do I regret contracting? Absolutely not! It was hugely rewarding both from an income but also career perspective. Ironically I would not be here in my great role today if it wasn't for my contracting years.
But times change... I think trying to redo what I did then would be near impossible... that's life, a door opens and you take it, sometimes it closes after a while.
That's just my perspective, nothing stopping you from giving up a good career to try your hand at it, just make sure you have c6 months of living savings to cope being out of contract (this is a risk).
I had no bench time during my contracting tenure coupled with a high day rate (hence why it was so useful for the years I did it), but I think I got out at the right time for the right role with the right big bank... I'm not sure how easy it would be to do the same again
Best of luck, but please do talk to the people you know first.