Hired, a hiring platform that connects companies with tech talent, published a new report this week on the state of software engineering jobs that suggests that contract workers can make more than full-time software engineers.
According to its data, which comes from 175,000 interview requests from 10,000 companies on the platform (they have to state how much they are willing to pay an applicant early on in the process), the average 1099 tech contractor currently commands $71 per hour; that comes out to $147,680 a year, assuming a 40-hour work week.
In comparison, full-time tech workers make on average $122,762 per year.
Of course, freelance work is often uneven, even for software engineers. Having to pay for one's benefits, including insurance and retirement, is costly, too. And no one covers contractors' vacation time. Any time off means lost wages.
That could be one reason that companies are increasingly looking for contract workers, acknowledges Hired CEO Mehul Patel, who we spoke with earlier this week. He tells us Hired has seen a "quadrupling" of companies that are open to hiring freelancers.
Still, he doesn't agree that in all, or even most, cases, hiring companies are trying to keep from paying for costly benefits and vacation packages. Rather, he thinks companies -- especially bigger outfits -- increasingly value the ability to scale up and down around product launches.
He also believes companies are responding to employees who are willing to give up security in exchange for flexibility. "A lot of the best talent out there doesn't want to work full time," said Mehul. In fact, he said, according to Hired's data, many contractors want to work closer to 20 hours a week.
"It's not because they can't find more hours," he said of these contractors, who tend to be younger, given that the 1.5 million job seekers on the platform have on average four to eight years of work experience. Instead, younger software engineers "want to spend the rest of their time on stuff that's interesting to them," he continued. "It's less about maximizing income, and maximizing self-direction."
In many cases, anyway. Hired's newest report also shows that 16 percent of contract engineers do ultimately accept full-time roles with companies for which they've worked as a freelancer first.
It's an interesting snapshot. You can check it out here if you're looking to get a better handle on what's happening right now in software engineering.