How to manage IT contractors

Hiring contract tech workers is a quick, easy way to staff up a project or offload mundane tasks -- but managing them can be ticklish.

As companies ramp up projects postponed by the recession and attend to delayed maintenance, they're beginning to fill in the IT ranks -- with full-time staffers, to be sure, but also with a breed of worker who once lurked at the edges of the organization: the IT contractor.

Proponents say contract IT workers -- meaning those engaged on a temporary basis for either in-house or remote work -- allow companies large and small to access skills not currently available on staff; quickly round out project teams without a lengthy, costly hiring process; and offload routine tasks for which low cost is the primary consideration.

Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis, says companies view contract labor as a smart way to find the exact skill set they need for as long as they need. "Employers are relying on contractors in every aspect of IT," he reports, "from network engineers to web developers to call center professionals and business analysts."

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