Tell us a little about IT Force and your services?
Based in Dublin City, we deliver award-winning Managed IT Services and IT Contracting Solutions to clients. When engaging with any client, IT Force looks beyond simply delivering a service. Our objective is to become a reliable and trusted partner to all our clients. The process involves identifying their needs, understanding their business and the market sector in which they operate. We keep abreast of what is happening in the industry and what the trends are in our vertical markets as well as what is coming down the tracks. We stay informed as to how this will impact our clients and we ensure that they are kept informed.
At IT Force we have a proven track record of successfully placing the right people in all types of IT roles. Our clients don’t just get a skilled individual; they get a team. Our contractors have access to the IT Force Support Desk and an open channel for escalating issues to product vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and Citrix.
Under our recruitment licence we operate a well-developed recruitment and selection process. We are experts at sourcing, screening, testing, interviewing and reference checking right-match candidates for roles. We only put forward high quality, relevant candidates saving our client time and money.
What do you think 2018 holds for the Contracting Sector?
Most general economic forecasts remain positive – it is predicted that the country’s economy will grow by 4.2% and that it could reach full employment by the end of this year. IT employment seems to be at an all-time high. Suppliers can struggle to find candidates for immediate requirements.
However, employers hate uncertainty and it is hard to envision how the economy will react to potentially years of unravelling the UK from the EU. This may well have a detrimental effect upon the wider economy here in Ireland.
The rates for contractors are holding their own, we haven’t had many contractors looking for increases in the last 6 months. Most seem to be happy with the extensions offered with their current companies.
Companies in the financial/insurance sector seem to have a preference for investing heavily in IT transformation programmes. This trend is likely to continue growing in 2018 and beyond.
Many clients are starting to convert contractors to permanent roles, which shows that clients have confidence in the work ahead. Senior candidates are looking to try contracting and junior are looking for perm roles.
Business Intelligence (BI) seems to be the busiest area and we have a number of clients looking for Project/Programme Managers and Business Analysts who have been involved in BI projects.
What advice would you offer someone who is considering moving to Contracting?
Firstly, the success of a contractor is usually down to their hard work, graft and determination. It can be easy to forget this, but you are self-employed when you become a contractor. That’s why it is essential to realise that you will have to manage your own tax affairs, holidays, health insurance and downtime.
It is important that new contractors are tax compliant. In addition to what a contractor is required to pay, there are reductions they can avail of. I would always advise people who are thinking of moving to contracting to speak to a company like Icon Accounting as they are best placed to provide relevant advice and support in areas such as the utilisation of allowable business expense claims.
Firms employing contractors will pay higher daily rates than they will for permanent staff because they make savings by not paying for holidays, employer’s PRSI and sick days. Contractors pay for their own sick days and take holidays on their own time. Finally, it’s also important for contractors to be on the lookout for new contract jobs or extension opportunities before their current role comes to an end.
As a specialised IT recruitment agency, what is important to you when recommending Umbrella Company / Ltd Company providers to your Candidates?
Choosing an Umbrella Company can be confusing and time-consuming. A contractor doesn’t want to spend a lot of time trawling through all the options available to them. Not all Umbrella Companies are the same and neither are the needs of all contractors.
The bottom line for a contractor is to make sure that they are getting the best possible take-home pay and that they are Revenue compliant. At IT Force, we work with a number of accountancy firms who provide services to contractors. We tend to recommend a small number of firms to our contractors as it is easier administratively for us to deal with smaller numbers.
In a competitive marketing, why do you think Icon Accounting stands out?
Icon Accounting delivers practical accountancy advice to contractors on how to set up and work under an Umbrella Company or a Personal Limited Company in Ireland. They know what they are doing, they know their contractors and the agencies, work to their terms, are flexible and very approachable. They are quick, efficient and friendly and provide excellent value for money to the contractors. They also provide payroll services to firms which can save time and money.
What key skills do you look out for in Contractors?
It largely depends on the role/project for which we need a contractor. There needs to be a skills match to the job specification, however, the contractor is also representing IT Force on-site with our client, so we also check carefully for interpersonal skills. We look for right-fit dependable and personable people that we feel will represent both IT Force and themselves in an appropriate manner. IT Force have a high contractor and client retention rate and are trusted by our clients to repeatedly provide the right resources for the right roles.