IT contractors value the lifestyle benefits that freelance work offers above the financial rewards, new research has found.
A survey of 2,000 IT contractors found that 37% - the largest single group - said lifestyle and flexible working considerations were the key factor in choosing contracting over staff jobs.
A substantially smaller 22% said the ability to charge more for their work was the key factor, while 15% said reducing their tax bill was the main consideration.
More than six out of 10 contractors said they enjoyed a wider variety of work than permanent IT staff, the survey by contractor services firm Giant Group found. The research also found that 57% of contractors said they had greater autonomy than employees, with only 15% thinking they had less.
Giant Group managing director Matthew Brown said: "It was feared that relentless challenges to contractors' tax status would drive IT professionals away from freelancing, but this research would suggest otherwise. Tax is an issue for every worker in the U.K., but contractors still enjoy considerable lifestyle benefits and it is those benefits that really make freelancing worthwhile."
He added that the variety of contractors' work was not just a benefit to the contractors themselves, but offered "a mechanism for the transfer of skills" that often meant contractors were a step ahead of their colleagues in permanent roles in terms of familiarity with the latest technologies.
"This is a critical weapon in the ongoing battle against skills shortages in the U.K. IT industry." he said. Contractors' greater autonomy gave them additional management skills, he added.