How do you, as a cyber security professional, tackle the issue? If you’re in a permanent role, and you don’t enjoy the work culture, your workload has increased without the right compensation, and you’re reaching burnout status, you’re not alone.
Whether you are a Security Consultant, Engineer, Analyst, Developer, Change Manager, Architect (the list goes on).… you might want to consider contracting, and we’ll explain why.
Take back control
As a contractor, you decide which roles you choose, and the projects you take on. If a contract is not feasible, or under-resourced, you don’t have to take it. You have more choice over how you work, and what you work on.
This is also true from a flexibility perspective. As a contractor, you can dictate your own work hours, and set up your day as you wish. If you want to put in a 12-hour day, but enjoy a lighter work load the next, you can. Or you could set up a stricter schedule of a standard work day. It’s up to you, and it will be dependent on the projects you take on, but that’s the crux of the message.
You can also decide how much of a break you take between contracts. If you’ve just finished a more demanding project, you can decide to take a little longer before you pick up another contract, or you could line-up consecutive contracts if you feel the workload allows for this.
This offers an alternative to your permanent role, if stress levels have risen over the last couple of years, and you need a way out. Contracting is by no means stress free, but it might offer you the relief you’re lacking if you’re caught in a relentless cycle in your current role.
Increase your wages
Cyber security contractors are in demand. It may be that organisations just need support for a short time, during new technology implementations or integrations, for example, or they might be struggling to hire permanent staff. When a position is hard to fill, hiring managers have been turning to contractors to help relieve the workload, while continuing their search for a permanent member of staff.
You can set your hourly or daily rate. You need to be reasonable with this, as it needs to reflect your skills and what the role will involve, but contractor salaries in general are higher than permanent salaries. From the vacancies and placements on our Focus on Security database, you could earn between £400-700 per day in a contract role, depending on your skill set. That’s roughly £50-80 per hour. In some cases, you could be earning more. If you break down your annual salary into an hourly rate, you’ll soon realise how much more you could be making. You can also benefit from tax relief if you register as a limited company.
It is worth noting, however, that with a contract role, you won’t get the full package – none of the bonuses, perks and benefits. You’re also not entitled to leave (e.g. holiday/PTO, sick, emergency), unless you’re using certain umbrella companies to get paid. You’re likely to still earn more on a contract salary than if you add up your entire package from your perm role, but it is worth checking, and making sure the lack of paid leave fits with your lifestyle.
Widen your prospects
If the culture at your current company doesn’t suit you, or feels toxic, contracting might be the right option for you. As a contractor, you experience different work environments, teams and cultures, so you can get an idea of what would suit you if you ever wanted to take on a permanent role again. You’ll also widen your network, meeting a much higher number of contacts within the industry, so finding a permanent role in the future won’t be a problem.
You can choose which skills to hone by taking on a contract to suit this, and direct your own career path. You may also get more opportunities to travel, by taking on short-term roles in other locations, or during any breaks you take between contracts.
If you want to work with the same team long-term and have a secure career progression path, then contracting is not for you. However, if you’re open to the idea of widening your skills and prospects, even if it’s just by contracting for a short time, it might be the right move.
Want to hear more about becoming a cyber security contractor, and explore the roles that might be available to you? Get in touch with one of our Cyber Security Recruitment Specialists today.