Risk & reward of the leap from permanent hire to contractor

Adam Osborne our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 5/31/2018 2:37 PM

Want to implement digital change through a variety of projects? Are you more interested in coding than hanging about the water cooler? Have you got 2 – 3 years of experience in your field within the field of digital and analytics? Are you a risk taker who wants to help businesses succeed in their short-term projects? If this is you, then you may want to consider a contract role within the industry.

Variety is the spice of life and in our always on, always in demand world of technology, we’re growing at astronomical pace. While some businesses are racing to transform their business models, others are ready to implement their changes, but may be missing the key personnel to do so. The skill shortage gap within the industry makes it tricky for businesses to find the right person for the right job.

The reason? Oftentimes, it’s because the right permanent candidates have already been placed.

What to Consider Before You Make the Move

One of the benefits of making the move from permanent employee to contractor is the opportunity to increase your wages. For example, someone making £50,000 per year on a day rate basis of £200, £300, or £400 per day could potentially command closer to £100,000 per year. However, there is risk in this kind of reward.

It’s important before accepting a contract role to understand the risk. This type of role is project based and can last anywhere from two to six months – sometimes less, possibly more. This short term offers slightly less financial security than a more traditional role, but with the rise of the freelance economy, many who walk this path understand its important to be financially stable before making the move.

Urgent projects create even more instability, but with the difficulty of finding permanent talent, day rates may increase. In other words, before you hand in your notice, be sure you’ve budgeted properly and are financially stable to take on a contractor role.

But, if you’re an expert in your field, perhaps a Head of Digital Analytics, the reward of making the move from permanent placement to contract role is the opportunity to focus on what you’re doing. As a contractor, you can get back in the trenches, help guide and grow teams, and be on the cutting edge of business transformation utilizing their digital implementation road map. Be the driving force for change and avoid getting bogged down in such day-to-day rituals as office politics.

Boost Your Digital Analytics CV with These Tips

Want to boost your CV to the top of the pile? Follow these tips:

  • Be specific when you reference digital analytics and/or digital implementation as a specialisation.
  • Be able to marry web analytics tool set with R, Python, SQL, etc.
  • Include any specialized training certificates such as Adobe Analytics Certificate. If you’re a Web Analyst familiar with Snowplow Analytics, it’s an added bonus and can boost your chances even further.

For Web Analytics contract roles, Adobe Analytics and Snowplow Analytics are in particularly high demand. More and more businesses interested in doing an Adobe Analytics Implementation project often find a skills gap in this area. However, though Adobe has been around longer and is more well known, a disruptor in the industry is Snowplow Analytics which is more personalised.

Your Turn

Contract roles offer bite size glimpses into the digital transformations of business and the skillsets they need to implement those changes. In our Your Turn section, we want to hear from you.

  • What projects have you worked on you found to be difficult or tricky?
  • What might make you move from permanent to contract role? And if you’ve made the switch, what most interested you to make the move?
  • With a shortage in the market for digital implementation specialists, what route have you followed? And if you’re interested in making the move, what draws you most toward it?

We’re currently looking for implementation specialists in the travel and online gaming sectors. For more opportunities, check out our current vacancies or contact Elizabeth Stone, Recruitment Consultant with a focus on Contract Roles at +44 20 8408 6070 or email elizabethstone@harnham.com to learn more.

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

Using Data Visualisation To Bring Data & Analytics To Life

The majority of the human population are visual learners. Our brains are wired in such a way where we can register 36,000 visual messages per hour, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. In short, one of the best ways to truly assimilate and understand new-found knowledge is through clear and digestible imagery.  Because of this valuable insight, we are now witnessing the fast-growing trend of Data Visualisation. Over the next six years, the value of Data Visualisation tools is expected to reach $19.2 billion, over double what it was in 2019.  Data & Analytics is one key area where data visualisation is used continuously. The raw data collected on a daily basis by Data Analysts can be incredibly time-consuming to sift through, not forgetting near-impossible to form palatable findings from. However, through the use of data visualisation tools such as graphs, heat maps, charts and infographics, confusing, text-based data can be transformed and brought to life. So, how can Data Visualisation help your business? Greater understanding of your data As Lydia, our Senior Recruitment Consultant, stated in her most recent article – data insights have the capability of not only improving decision-making, but also allow you to spot key trends, errors and predict future challenges. Nevertheless, all of these brilliant capabilities of data insights can only occur when teams can garner an in-depth understanding of the data being presented to them.  Without a background in statistics, which very few members of any team would possess, the raw data simply wouldn’t mean anything, and key insights could be missed. Utilising data visualisations not only makes data more tangible, but it also allows every team member to understand the data, make decisions and implement changes more efficiently. Standing out from the competition The effectiveness of Data Visualisation is no secret, and time and time again it’s been proved that this way of presenting data is far more likely to produce results than simply reviewing text.  Research within Analytics Insight reported that businesses using data discovery tools are 28 per cent more likely to find timely information compared to their dashboard-using counterparts, and 48 per cent of business intelligence users at companies with visualisation tools are able to find the information they need without the help of a specialist team.  Nevertheless, despite the incredible benefits, only 26 per cent of businesses globally are using data visualisation tools.  While the reasons for this slow uptake are varied, it’s clear that those companies who are willing to invest in Data Visualisation are far more likely to stand a head above their competitors. It can improve customer experience 98 per cent of companies will use data to help drive a better customer experience, but it doesn’t always mean that this data is collected, managed or presented well.  Data is, and should be, used as a way to back up what brands are saying, especially if they’re shouting from the rooftops about how fantastic they are.  When a business or brand uses accurate Data Visualisation to tell this story – for example, the percentage of consumers who report high levels of customer satisfaction, or the amount of money donated to CSR projects – audiences will respond much better than if the claim appears to be empty words without any evidence.  Data Visualisation is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to communicate data, both internally and externally. The comprehensible formats available enables information to be processed with ease, and for learnings and understandings to be absorbed and implemented with much more efficiency than text-based raw data. It’s clear that this trend is only going to grow in popularity as businesses begin to put more investment behind it in order to reap the benefits and watch the positive impact on their bottom lines prosper.  For examples of how Harnham uses Data Visualisation, head over to our recent research reports.  If you're looking to take the next step in your career or build out your Data & Analytics team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

The Reliability Of Sleep Trackers For Sleep Data

One in three of us regularly suffer from poor sleep. By this we mean not entering the correct stages of the sleep cycle often enough. During the optimum eight hours of slumber, we should be getting per night, the body should enter three different stages of sleep on a cyclical rotation: light, deep and rapid eye movement (REM). The most important stage of this being deep sleep, of which a healthy adult should be entering for around one to two hours.  Unfortunately, it is often the case, for a vast number of reasons, that many adults struggle to wake up feeling refreshed. From absorbing too much blue light from screens before bed, poor dietary habits or increased levels of stress, there are many factors into why good sleep eludes nearly a third of us daily. Over the past year especially, as a direct result of the pandemic, our sleepless nights have become increasingly worse. It seems anxiety related to COVID-19 has spiked our inability to get good rest. What are the dangers of persistent low-quality sleep? Continual restless nights can have profound effects on both our bodies and our minds. It can place immense stress on the immune system, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill. Other life-threatening diseases also linked with poor sleep include obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  Our mental state can also be incredibly damaged by consistent poor sleep. Not only does our ability to concentrate reduce, but our susceptibility to mental ill-health, such as depression, increases too.  It is no surprise then that, as a global population, our obsession with the amount of sleep we get per night has skyrocketed in the past few years, consequently seeing the boom of sleep tracking technology. From wearable tech such as the Fitbit and Apple Watches, to other bedside devices and bed sensors, the market for sleep trackers is estimated to reach $62bn in 2021 alone. But is this technology a reliable source of data for our sleep patterns? The problems with sleep trackers Wearable technology can only go so far when it comes to measuring our quality of sleep. Watches especially can usually measure aspects of our body such as heart rate and movement – all of which can be used as indicators of restfulness. However, their consistent accuracy is questionable. According to research, sleep trackers are 78 per cent accurate when it comes to identifying whether we are awake or asleep, which is a pretty good statistic for developing technology, however, this drops dramatically to 38 per cent when estimating how long it takes for users to fall asleep. For true accuracy, sleep should be measured through brainwave activity, eye movement, muscle tension, movement and breathing – all of which can only be looked at through a medical polysomnogram.  Additionally, much like many other sources of technology, sleep trackers have become a troublesome culprit for obsessive behaviour. In 2017, scientists coined the term Orthosomnia, the recognition of a real problem many were, and still are, having with become obsessive, to the point of mental ill-health, around tracking sleep. As stated by neurologist, Guy Leschziner; “If you have a device that is telling you, rightly or wrongly, that your sleep is really bad then that is going to increase your anxiety and may well drive more chronic insomnia." However, sleep trackers aren’t all bad. While not a tool to be used for sleep disorder diagnosis, they can be useful gadgets to help rethink our sleep habits to aim for a better night’s sleep.  The positives of sleep trackers While questions around the accuracy of this technology are prominent, trackers, overall, are pretty good when it comes to recording total sleep time. If used as a guide rather than an aid, sleep trackers can help users get into better sleep habits which in turn will undoubtedly improve their quality of sleep.  If the data is showing that users are only achieving five hours of sleep per night, and they are going to bed very late and rising early, then users may be encouraged to practice better sleep hygiene. From removing any blue light from the bedroom space, to taking an hour before bed to engage in less stimulating activities, such as reading, and practicing methods such as mindfulness or meditation to induce relaxation.  Sleep data from trackers can also be a useful tool to begin conversations with health professionals. Someone who regularly finds themselves groggy in the morning, with the notion that their sleep is badly disturbed, may find solace in sleep tracking data and it may give them the confidence to seek relevant help. While this sort of technology and its data will not be the end point for a diagnosis, it may give both the user and their doctor insight into any potential problems or issues they may be having with sleep.  Ultimately, those using sleep trackers shouldn’t be losing sleep over the data they present. Instead, ensure you are taking the analysis provided with a pinch of salt, and explore this in tandem with how you feel in yourself to assess whether you need to make changes to your sleep routine or seek help for a potential sleep disorder. Data is an incredibly important too, but using this in the right way is absolutely critical. If you're looking for a new role to get you out of bed in the morning or to build up your dream data team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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