Trying to choose between permanent/contract banking/non-banking job offers Trying to choose between permanent/contract banking/non-banking job offers
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  1. #1

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    Question Trying to choose between permanent/contract banking/non-banking job offers

    Hi All,

    This is my first post as I've just signed up because I'm in a kind of desperate situation in terms of choosing a job.

    My background is software development in investment banking recently working for Morgan Stanley and before that Barclays Capital (both permanent roles in Canary Wharf). Having recently been made 'at risk' at Morgan Stanley, I decided to start looking at other opportunities, both contract and permanent.

    I landed myself a 3-month contract on a good rate up near Cambridge with a consultancy firm where I am now, who has offered me a permanent position, but I don’t know what the salary will be yet.

    However, other ongoing interview processes have now come to fruition and I have a number of other job offers:

    - One is with a tier-1 European bank offering me a 12-month contract at the same rate as my current 3-month contract.

    - Another is a permanent managerial hands-on role in a London-based government organisation where I would be heading up a major high-profile project and would be managing a number of other developers. However, the money would be less than half what I would be getting in the 12-month contract.

    - On top of that, I have two more likely offers coming this week, both from European investment banks. One is a VP level permanent role and the salary is likely to be comparable to the 12-month contract I've been offered once you consider benefits.

    Basically, I’m at a loss on what to go for. The tier-1 investment banks would involve working in high profile front office trading systems. The Cambridgeshire consultancy I've already established myself well at and the work is very easy compared to what I’m used to in banking. I would be working on various assignments on different sites around the country, but I’m not convinced about working for what is really a software subcontracting firm rather than a prestigious company that provides a real service such as an investment bank.

    The government organisation involves high profile managerial experience and that responsibility is appealing, but I'm not sure about the money - would struggle to continue my current lifestyle I think!

    Another thing - I've verbally accepted the permanent role with the government organisation and also the 12-month contract, so I need to let at least one of them down ASAP. The recruiters put pressure on me to make a decision. But, I don't want to burn any bridges, or at least damage control best as possible.

    Would welcome any advice from anyone who's been in a similar situation before or has any worldly general advice!

    Thanks in advance.

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    Take the one that gives you career progression for a year, rape that for all the training and experience you can and then come back to the contract market at a higher rate for the next 25 years IMO. I did the career ladder before going contracting and I am glad I did so would pass that advice one...

    If that isn't your bag take the 12 monther and count your pennies.
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    In your situation, I'd take the permie VP role if it comes off this week.

    If not take the 12 month contract at the tier-1 European bank.

    The other bit of advice I would give is to not be pressured into making decisions by the recruiters. Try and keep your options open until you have a done deal as things can often fall through.

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    Thanks for the replies - much appreciated. (Fellow) northernladuk, what you've suggested is effectively where I'm already at to be honest. My recent roles have allowed me to gain the training and experience to now command a very high salary or contract rate. This is why I'm now considering contracting, and I can still gain further technological experience as I go along to keep myself marketable (I'm good at this). My big sticking point is the managerial responsibilities that came with the permanent role with the government organisation. It's half the money (less if you consider tax benefits of contracting), but is it really worth it for some managerial experience I could potentially gain in another role in the near future?

    minstrel - you read my mind. If the VP permie role comes off, ditch the 12-month contract. And it sounds like most are leaning towards the 12-month contract over the permie role at half the money.

    My biggest obstacle now is letting them down and timing it right. Maybe not tonight, as, as you mention, things can fall through at any moment. Although, I have enough on the table at the moment to keep myself afloat.

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    You can keep the 12 month contract warm while you wait to hear on the permie VP role by explaining you need at least 5 days for a contract review. Bauer and Cottrell are frequently recommended on here for contract reviews.

    Good luck - hope it works out whatever you decide!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    Thanks for the replies - much appreciated. (Fellow) northernladuk, what you've suggested is effectively where I'm already at to be honest. My recent roles have allowed me to gain the training and experience to now command a very high salary or contract rate. This is why I'm now considering contracting, and I can still gain further technological experience as I go along to keep myself marketable (I'm good at this). My big sticking point is the managerial responsibilities that came with the permanent role with the government organisation. It's half the money (less if you consider tax benefits of contracting), but is it really worth it for some managerial experience I could potentially gain in another role in the near future?
    I never wanted to stay techie though, I liked the managment/people side. PM'ing then service, playing the politics and the like. For me the next logical step from techie was team lead then in to management. Not for everyone I guess and you can make more money as experienced tech than low end PM.

    Have to think about where you wanna be in 10 years. If it is doing what you do now with a good wedge in the bank contract. If it is getting as far as you could and then contract at that level go perm for a bit.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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    Yes, it's horses for courses I guess. I like both being technical hands-on and dealing with people as well, so I'm more a client-facing techie I'd say - which is where I am - writing front office trading software and dealing with traders. This is what the 12-month role would be, so I don't mind sticking with that, but the permanent government organisation role would've had subordinates beneath me whose appraisals I would do, so it was an official team lead role in that sense.

    I'm happy to stick with front office client facing for now and get team lead in due course. In fact, one seasoned contractor I know personally said that I should earn 'director' money as a contractor for a few years while gaining experience, then go perm directly as a director later on. Makes sense in a way.

    Thanks everyone for your replies so far. Much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    In fact, one seasoned contractor I know personally said that I should earn 'director' money as a contractor for a few years while gaining experience, then go perm directly as a director later on. Makes sense in a way.
    ..But not a chance in hell of coming off, IMHO.

    I've 23 years as a contractor, and regularly turn down AVP and VP level permie positions. Be very careful here - too many of these roles are based on bonuses which never arrive. And look very closely at the impact of tax/NI on that permie salary you have no control over.

    And as regards being a Director...

    The guy I report to is exceptional in his IB skills - both business and technical. He went VP with my current client 10 years ago. Finally got his Director position at Christmas - after 3 years of applying. And, as I say, he's an exceptional candidate who's been working for them for a decade. The idea that you are going to walk into a Director role from a contract role is misguided, IMHO. Oh, and my Director friend tells me the money is no better as a Director, but the hours and the stress are 10 times higher; he only took the role as he has kids and a large mortgage; and he feels about as 'safe' in his job as us contractors.

    Just my two cents. Please feel free to disagree.
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    Bonuses are going to cr*p for the forseeable future and as a permie you'll be under a lot more pressure as you'll have to deal with the politics, though it does sound like you're used to that. The travelling consultancy role sounds like a dreadful option. I can see the attraction with the Government role, i.e. have an easy life with a senior position, go home at 5pm, but yes sounds like poor pay. Sounds like go with the London contract role.
    I'm alright Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    - One is with a tier-1 European bank offering me a 12-month contract at the same rate as my current 3-month contract.

    This. Gov't work is usually boring and you will be annoyed by the formal block that prevent you prom getting the actual work done.

    Do the high-profile, well-paid work, while you have the energy for it.

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