2016 New York Metro IT Consultant Rate Guide
New York City is a dynamic place by nature, always changing and evolving to fit the tempo and spirit of the times. Propelled by that drive, New Yorkers are often among the best and brightest in their fields, and through our experience as an IT Consulting and Recruiting firm, we find that New York IT consultants are no exception. That’s why the typical IT consultant rate in our area never remains the same for long.
But before we delve into current IT consultant rates, it’s important to be aware of the factors contributing to their rise. How competitive is the market? Are IT professionals remaining in New York or looking for work elsewhere? What can we do to attract and keep consultants? Are IT consultants right for you? The aim of our New York IT Consultant Rate Guide is to provide you with the answers to those questions and more.
We hope you find our research and experience in the field to be informative, helping your business to become more competitive as you appeal to and hire your next IT consultant.
The Future of New York IT Consultants in 2016 and Beyond
To say the tech sector is big in New York is one heck of an understatement. NYC boasts the second largest tech economy in the United States and is a hot destination for IT consultants. Yet trends can shift in a short time. Now that 2016 is in full swing, we’re going to take a look at the future of New York IT consultants and see what their future outlook is like.
New York Is Dealing with a Tech Shortage
Since New York rose to prominence as a tech center, the city has worked to cultivate opportunities for IT professionals. Looking at this digital map of NYC’s startups, VC investors, and incubators gives a sense of a thriving tech ecosystem. Yet tough-to-fill vacancies are still common.
At last year’s NYC startup job fair, founder Patrick Duggan said that though 50 percent of the open positions at the event were for developers, only 30 percent of applicants were qualified. The challenge is that businesses from startups to Fortune 500s are competing in the same space, fighting over a shortage of resources.
The talent shortage seems to be so pronounced, that New York City has taken action to fill the future talent pool by starting the Computer Science for All program to create more homegrown tech professionals. Yet the question remains: how do we deal with the talent shortage now?
The Advantage of More New York IT Consultants
IT consultants are a quick way to fill open positions in the New York tech ecosystem. They return to the job market more frequently than direct hires. Additionally, they are more willing to make cross country moves to find work with companies that satisfy their job criteria. At least 52 percent of tech employees would move to another state or region for work. The trick is giving them the incentive to do so.
New York IT consultants already have a number of factors to draw them to the area (competitive employers, vibrant city life, no shortage of job opportunities), but there are a few considerations that businesses need to keep in mind.
Because high quality IT consultants have a choice about which cities they choose to call home, there is an impetus to provide the right conditions to keep them in NYC. The companies that know when and how to compensate will have an easier time attracting tech talent.
What Draws New York IT Consultants Away
Two of the main factors drawing tech talent away from New York are consultant rates and cost of living expenses. In a recent study, New York was ranked 33rd among cities that offer the highest effective pay. Prices in New York City tend to be 22.3 percent higher than the national average and is the 4th most expensive place to live in the United States.
Other cities with lower costs of living but equally competitive compensation end up having a greater allure. For example, for every dollar earned in Seattle, New Yorkers need to earn $1.14 to keep up. Disparity of that kind exists in metropolitan areas across the United States.
When to Choose IT Consultants vs Full-Time Employees
The decision between an IT consultant and a full-time employee deserves more consideration than it is usually given. Here are the main factors to consider when deciding between different types of employees.
Cultural alignment: Engaged employees are important to any business – an engaged employee's workplace productivity has been measured at 22% higher than the average – and cultural fit is a considerable contributing factor to that sense of connection. What often gets overlooked is that both full time employees and consultants should have some level of cultural alignment.
Can they mix and seamlessly collaborate with current team members? Do they excel in working conditions similar to that of the position? Are their values aligned with the company’s? Any type of employee, be it full-timer or consultant, needs to answer in a way that fits the prevailing cultural criteria.
Short-term projects: Most businesses have no difficulty gauging which projects will last a few months. Web redesigns, infrastructure upgrades, and the translation of desktop apps into web or mobile platforms. Each has a finite end point and can benefit from a highly qualified IT consultant.
Yet longer projects running two or more years with evolving parameters can be equally well-suited for IT consultants. In fact, unless a specific role is something that can be guaranteed as an ongoing project, a contract employee is always a strong option.
Niche skills: How integral is a given technology to your team? Does it get used every month? Every week? Every day? Or is there an isolated range where once it’s been used, it will never be used again? Frequency and prevalence matter. Most consultants will have worked on several different projects, meaning they often have acquired skills that fit a broad field of work as well.
Increased volume: Though it is possible for a long-running business to predict some of its workload by the time of year or other measurable cycles, an influx of new or unexpected projects can put a strain on existing staff. Rather than exhaust the team until the workload subsides or hire someone who will quickly become an excess, hiring an IT consultant is often the best choice.
Hybrid positions: Is there a position that is difficult to put in a neat and tidy box? Does it combine several disciplines in one person? An IT consultant is one solution to this hybrid type of position, but an IT professional with such diversified skills might become too critical to your operation to let go. If there might eventually be opportunity for promotion for such a multi-talented person, full time employment might be the best route.
Employee costs: Price is definitely a consideration when deciding between hiring a full-time employee and a consultant. At a glance, the upfront pay rate of an IT consultant is going to be higher, yet full-time employees are typically more costly in the long run. Half of a full-time employee’s FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) are expected to be paid by employers. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act has made it mandatory for any business with 50 employees or more to provide some level of full-time employee healthcare coverage. None of those expectations exist when you employ IT consultants.