What Are The Hourly Rates For IT Contractors?

Looking for a high-paying career in IT? The best contractor rates are for business intelligence consultants, project managers and accounting systems developers. However, there's a shift towards more full-time employees in some areas, so it might not be the path to riches you anticipate.

Picture by Teemu Mäntynen

The SkillsMatch Contractor Salary Survey conducted by the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) analyses the rates paid for contract placements in the first three months of this year. Demand for contractors has been rising in some areas recently, but that isn't necessarily reflected in a massive change in hourly rates. Those have gone up an average of just 0.4 per cent to $87.09 an hour, though there is considerable variation between roles.

ITCRA CEO Julie Mills predicts that pressure on government to use fewer contractors may see changes in the market. "We’ve seen an increased focus in the media recently on the Government’s use of contractors and the high wages they command," she said in a release announcing the study. "This means that, once again, Governments in all jurisdictions will be under pressure to justify the number of contractors engaged and the rates paid which may lead to a change in the structure of the contracting market. We may also see the average contract length grow as a way to reduce the apparent cost per contract

In the table below, we've listed the typical hourly rates measured by ITCRA for a range of IT contractor roles and skills, and indicated whether the role is high demand (HD) or high supply (HS). Clearly, for high supply roles you'll have less chance of negotiating a better rate, and more senior skills in an area attract higher rates (full-blown project managers get more than those working in a lower project management role, for instance). You can sort any of the columns on the list by clicking on the headers.

That's almost enough to make me regret not pursuing a career in business intelligence. Almost, but not quite.

Do those numbers match up with your own experience? Share your insights in the comments.

ITCRA Skillsmatch

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


Comments

    I hope my boss doesn't see this. Looks like Im being over paid. Just lucky Im in a HD job.

    What's the difference between a Program manager and Program management?

      Probably similar to the difference between "program" and "project"

        Program Management would be the people in a Program Management Office. This is a team that supports a program or several projects with Project Status Reports, Scheduling, Risk Reporting and other project-related admin tasks.

    What I would like to know is weather these rates are from what the Recruitment Agency charges the company or what the contractor actually gets... I've done many contacts as a Desktop / Onsite support and its a struggle to get much more than $30 per hour.

      depends on the recruitment agent, I know some that will take a $150-200 cut from your daily rate. That said, I know some BI people who are simple able to contract directly through to the company thus cutting out recruitment agencies entirely.

      You're getting robbed? I'm doing basically the same thing without qualifications as a local tech for schools and I get $25 an hour. ST techs get around $40 an hour but that position is a bit harder to get. Time for you to look elsewhere maybe?

    This will vary dependant on your location. Canberra, for instance, will normally demand a higher rate than other places due to the high number of Government roles.

    The figures are pretty accurate from my experience give or take $5.00.

    finding it hard to believe that help desk get paid more than desktop/network support... 1st line is usually lower than 2nd/3rd line support.

      Sadly... when your talking HR stats... Desktop and Help Desk get lumpped into the one category. WHICH THEY SHOULDN'T!! Hear me ppl Sorry for yelling. but it needs to be said.

        Whats the difference?

          Much lager skill set.. you actually have to know your stuff... Helpdesk staff are mostly beginners... Desktop support aren't. Desktop support need to know the stuff on the stop without help (in most cases). You can't compare the two or put them on the same level.. its VERY different.

            That's what I used to say when I worked in DS, too.

            The rates seem accurate for hourly contractor rates.
            The bigger IT companies and outsourcers have their own quite different tables, corresponding to FTEs and subcontractors - PMs in Melbourne get pimped out to major industry clients for between $8-1200/day on large scale projects (>500k), and if the PM were an FTE, they would be doing very well to see $120k/annum.
            The same way this table shows desktop paying $37/hr - show me a desktop guy on that kinda money and I'll show you someone who's either found a loophole or is too expensive to retrench.

    Those rates are not very good.

    Better of being employed full time I believe my gross hourly rate is like $40 per hour.

    I'm employed full time, my hourly rate is around $33 per hour, but we charge out at $120 per hour for labor.

      We also charge $120 an hour for desktop support. However, my hourly rate is only $17 an hour.

        That's exactly what happened to me too. I was a full time web developer being paid $15 an hour, with my hours being charged out at $135. In a bigger kick in the ass, they hired two people to do my job after I left (I was the only in-house developer there at the time. Working on larger jobs can be difficult by yourself).

    Would love to see an article on help and ideas for getting started in full time / casual work. I'm soon to be out of university and am looking for pathways / suggestions on getting into proper (read: not part-time) employment. It's also always interesting to hear from people about how they started out and what they did to end up where they are today

      Good idea for an article!
      Angus, it would be awesome if you could write something on this.

    Any idea what a generic IT Consultant makes? such a jack of all trades/master of none role.

    And yet again I'm reminded that I would be making a heap more money as a Contractor, than as a salaried BA.

    If it wasn't for the fact that I'm looking to entirely leave the rat race behind, I'd definitely be looking at contracting.

      haha... tbh.. contracting isn't as nice as it sounds.. don't be too fooled.

    I need to change profession. My current rate embalming people only give $26ph. I could do tech and phone support.

    Hey Alex - I market myself as a jack of all trades.
    You will find a very specialist field in the area of applications support analyst roles.
    Currently I am getting 80+ an hour on contract supporting multi tiered application websites

      yeah and you're probably doing 4 peoples jobs who they should be paying about 60$ each. .

      Tell them you want 120 or you're leaving.

    113 for an architect, sucks for that person. I'm pulling 140.00.

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