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Is contracting a career killer?

 
#1 Is contracting a career killer?
27/10/2010 09:18

Ed

I would apreciate your insights into a dilemma I have, specifically whether to enter the consulting market as a contractor. I have 7 years experience gained in Corp Finance / Strategy Consulting and recently operations.

I am currently in management, total package w/o bonus is 90k.

Several friends have gone into contracting, and those that can ensure to have a decent utilisation rate, earn double my wage with the upside of having a flexible calendar to travel, usually working less hours, and have a variety of projects that they can chose from.

However, many people warn me that I will stagnate as a contractor, and will find it difficult to resell my experience coming back into industry / consulting later on.

I am 28 - and feel that if I want to do it for 2/3 years, now is the time. Can anyone shed some light or discuss thier experience? Would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Ed

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#2 RE: Is contracting a career killer?
27/10/2010 10:19

jj to Ed (#1)

Firstly utilisation varies. As a technical IT person in a hot skill you might get 100%. As a strategy consultant then you need to leverage your network; and if that is dry then you could easily spend months looking for a new assignment. It is often accurately described as "feast or famine". Being on the bench is uncomfortable when there is no money coming in.

Careerwise in a permanent role there is more chance of development. A project comes up that is just above your experience level and you may be considered for it. If they are looking for a contractor then they will want someone who has been there got the T shirt...possibly over qualified for the job. So your career will stagnate a bit.. Ask yourself which is more important - money or career progression?

There is also a distrust of contractors applying for permanent roles. However if you have a good network then you can use this. Expect to come back at a similar salary/level as you left.

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#3 RE: Is contracting a career killer?
05/11/2010 11:46

igor to jj (#2)

any other thoughts? Operational contractors are going for 750/1000 a day... that is serious money for someone with less than 10 years experience! Tony - any thoughts?

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#4 RE: Is contracting a career killer?
05/11/2010 11:57

Dave to igor (#3)

Basically, it's great money but you've got no job security. When your contract runs out, you're out of a job.

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#5 RE: Is contracting a career killer?
05/11/2010 14:46

nah to igor (#3)

"Operational contractors goign for 750/1000?"

For anything other than a short term piece of work, that sort of day rate would only be commanded by a Programme Director or Interim Ops Director.

Neither are likely to be attainable after 7 years consultancy experience.

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#6 RE: Is contracting a career killer?
11/11/2010 18:32

recruiter too to Ed (#1)

Agree: employers and recruiters looking to hire permanent staff are wary of contractors in direct proportion to the time spent contracting for reasons Too Numerous To Mention. If your career profile so far is top drawer don’t even think about it.

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