At what point do I consider... Perm? At what point do I consider... Perm?
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    Default At what point do I consider... Perm?

    Hello, seasoned .net banking IT contractor (10 yrs) who decided to not renew in June and take a 3 month holiday. Had a wonderful holiday and then started looking for work in September... to my absolute horror. I've not seen the contract market this bad even when Lehmans went bust. Very competitive CV based on career counselling, the agents say my rate isn't the issue and I've pitched that competitively as well, it's just a drying up of the contracts coming to market, and also many of the contracts simply not being signed off to hire or being put on hold. Faced with sitting out until mid-Feb now if things don't pickup in the next two weeks, does there become a good reason to start considering perm for a year to keep my skills current and avoid a "structural unemployment" gap on the CV? Agents say to not switch industries at all cost since there will be stigma getting back in. Any thoughts? - big or small (fyi. warchest isn't an issue here)

  2. #2

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    You may have to change industries from banking. Banking is the first sector hit with a falling market, so its going to be hard to get a contract there. For the sake of your sanity, try contracts in any other market to simply keep your business profitable. I dont think its as hard as people make out to get back into banking. Expecially if you already have 10 years. I only have a couple and found it easy enough last year, and with plenty of contacts at other banks, not worried about moving back into it, when the market is better

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    It is pretty dire but there is still some movement here and there especially if the roles relate to regulatory work. If you do go perm make sure you don't get stuck with a long notice period which banks seem to be trying on these days as you will find it tricky to move back. Ideal would be perm role with a 6 month probation period with 1 weeks notice which would take you to the hopefully better hiring season!

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    New IT contracts in IBs are seasonal, you should know this after 10 years ! Rule of thumb is that if you are out of contract end of Aug/Sep, don't take a break look like crazy for another contact immediately, if its gets to be mid Dec give up until start of Jan, just keep trying, reduce your rate and maybe consider the numerous hedge funds and financial software houses, who knows you may like it / learn something useful there.

    I had a contract end in Oct once and my only option was a big financial data software provider starting in Jan, it was terrible there, awful work and boring sometimes, sniping, bitter and twisted people pervaded the place but I stuck it out there for 7 months and hopped into a juicy IB contract, serves them right for giving me naff rates, its been up and up ever since !

    Trust me, I've seen idiots go from 7 month motorcycle holidays with weak I.T. skills enter IBs on high rates (they didn't last there as they were bullsh*tters) but that should give you the confidence to keep on with it. I think that if you leave banking and finance it will be harder (not impossible) to re-enter given that the competition will be either currently in an IB contract or a short time out so don't do it unless its the last resort - I've seen rates for non IB and finance jobs in the home counties and they are a total p*ss take as are the permie salaries, not even worth getting out of bed for - a complete waste of life getting mugged off daily as your life disappears.
    Last edited by sbakoola; 17th October 2011 at 21:51.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanOnshore2010 View Post
    Hello, seasoned .net banking IT contractor (10 yrs) who decided to not renew in June and take a 3 month holiday. Had a wonderful holiday and then started looking for work in September... to my absolute horror. I've not seen the contract market this bad even when Lehmans went bust. Very competitive CV based on career counselling, the agents say my rate isn't the issue and I've pitched that competitively as well, it's just a drying up of the contracts coming to market, and also many of the contracts simply not being signed off to hire or being put on hold. Faced with sitting out until mid-Feb now if things don't pickup in the next two weeks, does there become a good reason to start considering perm for a year to keep my skills current and avoid a "structural unemployment" gap on the CV? Agents say to not switch industries at all cost since there will be stigma getting back in. Any thoughts? - big or small (fyi. warchest isn't an issue here)
    Can only comment on my own experiences.

    23 years contracting, dipped in and out of banking 4 or 5 times. Never had a problem getting back in - last time after a 7 month break/benchtime gap. EDIT: And previous "gaps" out of banking roles have been as long as nearly 10 years. Be prepared to adjust your rates, and be flexible on work location.

    Market is a lot quieter now, that's a mix of lay-offs (we've dropped 20% at the IB I currently contract for) and seasonal. I'd take any contract that comes along, if you are that desperate. Otherwise just simply take a long break until something in banking turns up. I've done both approaches many times over the years.
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    I don't know how clientcos choose their contract staff. Half the time I think it's like the scene in the office were Dave Brent gets a pile of CVs and throws half of them in the bin. When he gets asked why he replies that he doesn't want to employ anybody who's not lucky!

    Keep plugging away!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbakoola View Post

    I had a contract end in Oct once and my only option was a big financial data software provider starting in Jan, it was terrible there, awful work and boring sometimes, sniping, bitter and twisted people pervaded the place but I stuck it out there for 7 months and hopped into a juicy IB contract, serves them right for giving me naff rates, its been up and up ever since !.
    Was that a company called Ma**** by any chance?

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    I swallowed my pride and started applying for perm jobs thinking it would be easier given the dire state of the contract market. 500 jobserve applications, 20 agent phone calls a day, 4 hours hunting and emailing, resulting in 75 actual applications (20 perm), 8 rounds of interviews and not a single offer. 2 offers were blocked and 2 filled by internal candiates. So.... I'm flexible on rate, perm, location and even now industry. And yet I'm still on the bench. I'm sicking of hearing about "urgent hire" when the contract recruitment process seems to be more like a permie one - drawn out over many rounds. What to do, I seriously don't know anymore (apart from thank my lucky stars for saving in the good years). But how could any perm ever believe in "job security", "bonus" and "career progession" after the carnage we've seen lately and since Lehmans I don't know. Thanks for listening, any thoughts welcomed.

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    Been said many times before, but you just need to be patient, If you can afford to wait for the next contract then wait.

    Loads of places have no budget, so nothing can be signed off. Hiring managers are jumping the gun expecting hiring freezes to be lifted soon, scheduling interviews and shortlisting candidates, and then... as you know.
    We are entering the slowest part of the year for new hires, so it's not going to improve in the next couple of months.

    Keep plugging away, but it's pointless worrying about stuff you can't control.

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    Smething about the way you are selling yourself is not working obviously, look at e numbers. Radically change your Cv as your hit rate is not good from that, I usually get forwarded to about 1 out of six that I apply for. Also think about why you are not getting through the interviews. At this stage don't be afraid of the change as your current tools are not working for you.

    And keep your chin up, something will come along, also try a bit of a plan B on the side while you wait for e role to come through. Even eBay ing your old stuff will get a bit of cash in

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