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Employers shift focus to contract-to-hire

It’s no secret that job growth in IT is recovering more quickly than almost any other industry in the United States. The year began with a gradual increase in open IT positions, and by the beginning of March, demand across the country accelerated and continues as we head into the summer months.

A notable difference?
Over the past five months, Paragon IT Professionals has seen the demand for contract-to-hire (C2H) positions more than double compared to recent years.

Why the shift?
Whether it’s due to the difficulty around finding qualified full-time eligible (FTE) resources, not having FTEs in the budget, or simply the need for expertise around a project, there are many reasons hiring managers are electing to go with contract or contract-to-hire.

Just as companies are having to shift their mindset on remote work and work from home (WFH), hiring leaders may also be recognizing some of the benefits of leveraging a contract employee.

“Sometimes the best or most qualified talent only consider consulting opportunities,” said Nick Roach, director of sales at Paragon. “And in turn, sometimes the best opportunities for career growth and experience are consulting opportunities. It’s important for hiring managers to keep an open mind as the gig and freelance world grows.”

By 2028, it’s expected that 48% of tech jobs will be freelance (compared to 32% today). Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon began putting a greater focus on contract workers years ago, and by 2018, Google had more contract workers than direct employees. As CNBC shared, companies looking to trim HR costs or hire in-demand skills in a tight labor market are electing to focus their efforts on contract talent.

“The old stigma around contract work being a last resort, or a job you take when you can’t find full-time work, is simply not true in IT,” said Roach.  “Many candidates leave full-time positions for contract work because it provides opportunities not offered as a salaried FTE.”  

Advantages of contract or C2H consultants:

  • “Try before buy” concept for both the employer and the consultant
  • Access to a larger talent pool
  • Turn-key resource with little-to-no learning curve/onboarding
  • Ability to quickly hire talent – often in a matter of days versus weeks or months
  • Subject matter experts that tend to come with a wealth of knowledge and experience  

In April, Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, shared that we should expect more tech workers to explore their career options as hiring activity increases. While that may sound frightening to some and exciting to others, the theme of the year seems to be flexibility – whether that’s around where someone works or their type of employment.

About Paragon IT Professionals
Paragon IT Professionals helps organizations drive performance through talent acquisition and IT solutions. Established in 1997 by brothers Craig and Joel Jackman, Paragon is headquartered in Des Moines, IA, and has grown to serve clients in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. For more information about Paragon and its services, visit



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