Permanent vs Contract

Permanent vs Contract? Find Out What Fits

Contracting work has outgrown permanent positions enormously over the past five years within the Irish IT sector.

According to the OECD Self Employment Rate Indicator Chart via Labour Force Statistics, 15.7% of Ireland’s workforce in 2017 were self-employed.

Yet, the ESRI predict only a modest increase over the coming years in its August 2018 report, stating “the share of contingent employment (employment relationship that is non-permanent) in total employment [is] rising from 9 per cent in 2016 to 10 per cent in 2025, with this increase driven by a rise in the share of freelancers.”

So how exactly do you know if contracting will suit you and your lifestyle? Let’s explore the pros and cons to both permanent and contracting work within the IT industry.



  1. Experience a variety of work environments across a multitude of industries. You won’t be tied down long-term to one company or organisation, you become less involved in the usual work politics and thus work fatigue and burn-out dissipate.
  2. Exposure to newer technologies across various contracting roles is the big advantage to contracting work. In fact, the more projects you become involved with, the higher the chances you will be exposed to niche technologies. Then, the higher the likelihood you will be hired for better projects due to your various experiences of technology.
  3. The variation of jobs organically leads to acquiring more soft skills and experiencing more personalities, which helps to develop more social communication skills. Networking opportunities are huge in contracting as you meet more clients. More contacts = more doors open.
  4. Expenses-wise, you could be eligible to deduct a portion that you wouldn’t usually qualify for in a permanent position. This happens because you will be essentially working for yourself, either through an umbrella company or by going into business as a limited company.

Tip: If you take a contract that runs over 24 months, you will NOT be able to claim site-based business expenses.

  1. And did you know that you can potentially earn a lot more than your permanent contemporary? This is because you will cost the company less than a permanent person. Bonus points too if you hold a specific in-demand skill or certification; it’s common for overseas projects to pay serious money for the right candidate with the right skills.

Yet this isn’t always the case, and in fact, you could be losing out in other ways…


  1. The dizzying range of benefits that are now freely offered across the tech sector will not apply to you, such as pension schemes, private healthcare, car allowances, professional development funds.
  2. This goes for holiday and sick leave too. You are financially responsible for when you’re unable to work and it can be quite challenging, especially if you’re supporting a family.
  3. It’s your responsibility to submit your taxes correctly and timely. Ireland is lauded for its unfavourable stance of the ‘self-employed’ so to navigate the tax landscape, you may need to hire an accountant to make sure you’re compliant.
  4. ‘Unpredictable’ will be a word you will hear often. Hours can vary, never mind the time it takes for you to line up your next contract. Without the consistent flow of income coming in, the rainy days could be more often than you think.




  1. The reliable flow of money coming into your bank account monthly. It can’t be beaten!
  2. The company-paid benefits are often the reason why people choose one IT role over another. We’re seeing people receive 10% company-contributed pensions within the tech sector with full health insurance on the rise. Stock options offered can be a total game changer for your retirement when left to mature accordingly.
  3. Feel secure in knowing that your position is permanent, especially during weak market demand. This also cuts out the time spent searching for contracts as often as every three months.
  4. Becoming committed to your team and company brand can instil a greater sense of job satisfaction, and you will meet some life-long friends in your work arena.



  1. Your wings become tied when you lose the freedom to leave at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, people become institutionalised and may lose confidence in their ability to do other roles.
  2. Working longer hours is more common in a permanent role which can naturally upset your work-life balance.
  3. And finally, frustration and decreased enthusiasm for the job has been cited when people stay in one job for too long. Lack of change and staring at the same four walls becomes a chore, rather than an opportunity to forward yourself. Making sure you remain motivated is key in permanency.

Was this article helpful? If you would like to find out if you’re better suited for a permanent position or a contracting role, speak with one of our IT recruiters today.

Career Advice