The State of Contract Jobs in Data Analytics Across the US
No matter where you stand on your preference for freelance versus permanent roles, there has certainly been a swell in the number of contracting Data & Analytics professionals in markets across the world. For example, in our New York office, in the first three months of 2023, we have already seen more than half the number of new temporary contract positions come up as were listed during the whole of 2022.
What’s driving this growth? While there are a number of intermingling factors at play, here are three trends that Jose Gomez, Managing Consultant for Harnham in New York, has noticed in the current contract market.
Testing the Waters
Gomez considers ‘contract-to-hire’ as the number one recruitment trend in the interim sector at the moment. He describes the contract-to-hire method as an opportunity for both parties to ‘try before you buy’, by entering into a contract that initially lasts for three to six months but can be converted into a permanent job at any time.
For an employee, this means they can test the water in an unfamiliar firm to see whether they enjoy the job and workplace environment. For the employer, it is an invaluable way to try out a promising candidate for a specific project but postpone the administrative and financial implications of a permanent job offer, until they are certain they’ve found the right fit. A short-term commitment from both sides can ultimately lead to a long-term solution that suits both the employee and employer.
A Project-Based Approach
Another significant trend that is driving contracting markets is project urgency. Regardless of wider global events and uncertain financial markets that may influence whether a business commits to growing its headcount, there are a number of time-sensitive projects that still need to go ahead. These tend to have a clear start and finish date mapped out.
Bringing in professionals on a short-term basis who are accustomed to hitting the ground running without the employer needing to commit to the paperwork and costs of a permanent hire, means these urgent projects can still be completed by their deadlines.
With the growing importance of Data and Analytics for many organisations, this is translating into a tangible uptick in the number of contracting positions we are filling for clients, with many looking to hire into multiple project-based roles. This approach also means that employers benefit from the experience of contractors who have worked on a diverse range of projects across different firms.
The Impact of Evolving Technology
A third trend powering demand for contract work in the sector is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Everyone has heard of ChatGPT, but what is it all about? For Harnham’s specialist recruitment consultants, AI is our bread and butter and we are seeing a growing call for Machine Learning (ML) engineers who can work in numerous programming languages and data models.
Given the current trajectory of the Data & Analytics market, we expect to see all three trends continue to grow going forwards, leading to lots of opportunities for contract work.
Should someone currently in the ‘permanent’ camp consider a switch? We find that contracting work does not fit a specific demographic, it’s a personal lifestyle choice. For some, the flexible, freelance lifestyle is highly desirable and offers many benefits, but it is quite different from the permanent approach and therefore won’t suit everyone.
Before placing any contractor into a role, we set up an agreement between the employer and contractor to cover all eventualities. Harnham’s recruitment consultants are highly experienced at matching the right contractors with the right businesses and we provide contracts on a part-time and full-time basis.
The great advantage of this type of employment is that recruitment can be extremely quick and efficient. We have seen the process from interview to job offer to signing agreements happen within two days, which is an extremely fast turnaround. And whilst contractors generally don’t receive the same company benefits as permanent staff, at Harnham we do offer benefits to the contractors we have on our books.
Interested in hiring a data contractor for an upcoming project or expanding your team with a permanent data professional? Our expert team knows the market inside out, and how to reach the best talent out there, get in touch today.