Industry Outlook: Self-Employed Consulting

SAN MATEO (06/12/2000) - With the demand for highly skilled technical professionals as strong as ever, the outlook for self-employed IT consultants and contractors is promising. Roughly half of all consultants are reported to be independent contractors.

Industry statistics

Management consulting:

Worldwide annual revenues - $62 billion

Number of management analysts in the United States - 344,000IT consultant hourly rates:

Overall range - $20-$160 per hour

Most common - $40-$100 per hour

Independent contractors are estimated to be paid at least 20 to 40 percent more per hour than employees performing similar work.

Annual earnings:

In 1998, the middle 50 percent earned between $40,000 and $73,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Consulting trends

Job growth: The U.S. Department of Labor says employment is projected to increase 21 percent to 35 percent through 2008, although growth in the number of individual practitioners may be hindered by clients' increasing demand for a team approach.

What's hot/what's not in IT contracting:

Highest median hourly rates - Network architects, team leaders, database administrators, senior programmersLowest median hourly rates - Operations, technicians/technical support, trainers, technical writersWeb resourcesProfessional and Technical Consultants Association - www.patca.orgThis site is geared toward consultants in tech-related fields and includes a referral service, searchable directory of consultants, and resource page. The Newsletters section features consulting tips and upcoming events.

Realrates.com - www.realrates.com

Author Janet Ruhl maintains a comprehensive database of hourly rates for computer consultants. Visitors can browse message boards, search for consultants, or access a contract database.

Niku Corp. - www.iNiku.com

Business services company Niku provides a Web portal for independent professionals. Registered users get access to a listing of available projects; unregistered users can access tips on how to succeed as a self-employed consultant.

CPUniverse - www.cpuniverse.com

Serving as the online home to the monthly Contract Professional Magazine, this site features a collection of useful articles and information. Topics covered include tax law, training, and insurance.

SOURCES: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, REALRATES.COM

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