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What are the positives & negatives of using part-time workers in your business?

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All the research says flexibility is the most popular benefit candidates look for in a job and with the work landscape changing in how we work - how can you ensure your business outcomes are met?

The initial concerns are often...

***Well we need 40 hours per week - we’re budgeted for an FTE (Full-time equivalent)

***If we offer part-time other workers will others want to do the same?

****Will we lose productivity?

So what are the positives?

***You instantly increase your candidate pool

Opening up a whole new pool of skilled & experienced workers who either for family reasons, interests, life-balance choose (or don’t choose can have dependants that restrict their working hours) 20, 25, 30, 32 hours

***You save on salary overhead ie you pay pro rata so if they work 4 days a week you pay them 4/5 salary - simple.

***You can save on the recruitment fee as you only pay a % of the salary the candidate is appointed on

***You retain staff who have been wanting to work part-time instead of having them leave - they can no longer work full-time (having families or other commitments)

***With an ageing work force (The boomers) you can retain skills & experience instead of having them retire for good

***Increase in productivity much has been mentioned about a 6 hour work day being more productive…check out the article from the Harvard Business Review here

***Part-time workers are often very skilled & experienced and can often come in and ‘nail it’ working very efficiently focused on outcomes

***A recent study on ‘Presenteeism’ found 57.5 days per year were lost with workers turning up & not actually doing anything…please check out an article click here

What are the negatives?

***Overhead - You have a work station - desk top / desk / phone etc set up for full-time yet it’s only being used part-time

***Availability? Synching with team meetings. Do you have core hours set that everyone needs to be available for ie 10-3pm etc?

***Not available for impromptu meetings out of their working hours

So in skill short industries like IT a smart talent strategy is being open to all types of working relationships which is positive for both employees and the business. Opening up the candidate pool statistically gives you a higher chance of hiring better qualified, well-matched candidates to the work outcomes you require to get achieved.

Let me know your thoughts & experiences with part-time?

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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What do I need to set up as a professional IT contractor?

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You’re looking to get into IT contracting for the variety of projects, the excellent hourly $$ rate & no politics but what do you need to set up and what are the real costs of IT contracting?

The reality is that it’s not that hard to become an IT contractor and setting up is relatively straight forward with everything you need to know online.

Company set up:

You can start contracting immediately as a ’Sole trader’. This is zero dollars to set up.

Once you start to earn over $60k per year you need to register for GST.

If you’re looking to become a contractor long-term you might want to set up a limited company for $150 as this can give you tax advantages. For example your tax rate can be lower than top personal rates.

Check out the differences between a Sole Trader & Limited Company structures click here.

Apparently New Zealand is one of the easiest places in the world to do business and start up your own company.

To see how to start up a business click here.

Provisional (Income) Tax, GST & ACC:

The IRD simply want to get paid the tax they are due.

Most professional IT contractors will be in the 30% tax bracket & the best tip I’ve had when I was a contractor is to keep 1/3 (ie 33%) of the money you earn in a separate account for tax and a wee bit more (to cover any oversights or expenses) & remember THIS MONEY IS NOT YOURS IT’S THE GOVERNMENTS.

If you are GST registered you add 15% to your invoices and the best way to think of GST is you are collecting GST for the government. Again put this into your separate account and don’t touch it until you pay your GST.

You also need to pay ACC being self-employed.

To see how much your ACC levy will be click here.

The number 1 way small companies get into strife is not paying their tax correctly.

Accounting systems: 

Of course we have Xero which is super easy to set up & is a flexible solution. If you’re only sending up to 5 invoices per month it only costs $27.50 per month.

To check out Xero click here.

There are other options on the market but many people love the simplicity of Xero as do I.

Timesheets:

As a contractor you’ll be expected to record the hours you work & submit these to a line manager for invoicing purposes. This is a small piece of admin that is usually done on an email, spreadsheet or app.

Invoices:

Typically every month (or few weeks depending on your agreement) you’ll send an invoice with the hours you’ve worked to the company or IT recruitment agency. At Sunstone we pay within 1-2 days of when the work is complete.

Accountant:

There are plenty of accountants who will oversee your provisional tax (income tax) for your company & yourself (personal Income tax & how much you pay yourself or as a dividend - ask your accountant about this).

It will be cheaper if you reconcile your accounts & do your GST yourself and it’s VERY easy once you have Xero set up. It’s also quite fun as you’re learning how the nuts & bolts of a  business works and this adds to your professional business experience :-)

Again the number 1 way small companies get into strife is not paying their tax correctly so get a decent accountant and as long as you’re on top of this it’s plain sailing.

Sick leave / Public holidays / KiwiSaver: 

Sick leave. There is none.

The hours you work are the hours you get paid for & really any time you take off is covered in your contracting rate but it might be an idea to budget for some sick days off per year say 5.

You won’t get paid on public holidays or when you go away on holiday. When you finish a contract it can be a good time to turn this into a holiday before you get your next contract or at least make sure you budget for when you do schedule your next family holiday.

You’ll have to contribute your own money to KiwiSaver. If you contribute at least $1,042.86 a year (from 1 July to 30 June) to your KiwiSaver account you get the maximum Government contribution of $521.43. Ask your accountant or check out the KiwiSaver website here.

Expenses:

You can claim back work expenses like petrol (kilometres) to & from the work site, work tools (Laptop, Mobile etc), business coffees & lunches. Remember to keep your receipts for 7 years.

Here’s how expenses work click here.

It’s also good to think of some extra expenses that might arise like a new laptop, phone or vehicle so think a head and put away 3 months of earnings to give yourself a buffer.

More on things to think about before you become a contractor click here.

Insurance:

Most companies require Professional Indemnity insurance. You can search online for a broker or ask for a referral from an IT contractor you know.

You may also want to consider liability insurance should you get sued this will cover costs like legal expenses. If you’re working on large, expensive IT systems in mission critical enterprise environments (like banking, aviation or defence etc) where things could go wrong this is worth looking into.

Market Contract Rate:

Make sure you charge a decent contract rate. For shorter assignments your rate will be higher for longer-term ie 12 months+ it would be less. Talk to fellow contractors and find out what a ballpark market hourly rate and I’m always happy to advise on market IT contract rates for various IT disciplines as this is what I do everyday.

Professional conduct & 3rd party independent view:

Now you have your own company and you’re about to step on-site and start working as an IT contractor you can hold your head up high and be a true professional. Many professional contractors enjoy being an independent consultant as they can focus on the technical solution / project and not get caught up in the politics of an organisation.

Networking events / professional development:

Getting out to networking events & keeping up-to-date with latest technologies is part of the professional IT contractors job. This doesn’t have to be a crazy amount, but pick the right networking events for what you do & go to them regularly - become known. It’s also great to go on courses (online & physical) that will extend your skills & you get to meet excellent contacts in your industry which is a win-win situation.

Rewards:

A lot of IT contractors find their work extremely rewarding due to the purpose and the effort they put in - they get out. There’s a sense of pride in doing purposeful work for yourself, Your reputation is important and from doing great work it leads to more great work as you continue to build your contracting network.

Sunstone:

I’ve been managing IT contracting relationships for nearly 20 years & having been a contractor myself and running Sunstone Group Limited I’m happy to point you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking to start out as a contractor or are a seasoned IT contractor looking for your next assignment get in touch. I’m always happy to advise you on the going contract rate for a particular skill set in Christchurch just reach out on: paul@sunstonetalent.com / 021 532 008

Disclaimer: Before you commit to any of these please seek professional accounting or legal advice as everyone’s situation is a little different.

Are you ready to step up & become a professional IT contractor?

Here are some of the IT contract roles we have currently live in Christchurch:

CONTRACT Java Developer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Senior JavaScript Web Developer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Software Test Engineer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Senior C#.Net / Angular Full Stack Web Developer (TypeScript or JavaScript), IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Senior Web Developer (Angular / TypeScript), IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Intermediate C#.Net/SQL Software Developer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Senior C#.Net/SQL Software Developer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

CONTRACT Senior C#.Net/SQL Integration Software Developer, IT Jobs Christchurch NZ

Wow you made it all the way to the end - I’m stoked so thanks for reading!

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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Tech Week NZ in Christchurch starts Monday 20th May

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Tech Week NZ kicks off Monday 20th May and we have some great events, workshops & seminars to attend in your local city in which many of them are FREE.

So what are some of the great events to go along to in Christchurch?

Check out the programme for Christchurch click here

Here are a few events that caught my eye….


***Monday 20th 5.30pm-7.30pm at Otago Uni, near Christchurch Hospital, 2 Riccarton Ave. PAID or FREE for Canterbury Tech members

Impact of Technology on Health Care Today

Instead of the monthly Canterbury Tech networking event this is the one they’re running with for Tech Week…

Particularly interesting will be Dr Tim Woodfield’s (an old friend of mine) talk about how you 3D print human body parts….now that’s pretty amazing.

Topic: 'Bio Inks & 3D Bioprinting Living Tissues for Regenerative Medicine' The development of novel bio-inks and 3D bio-printing technology to deliver cell therapy solutions for Regenerative Medicine of cartilage and bone, and the R&D taking this technology to commercial and clinical application.

More info click here

***Tuesday 21st 10am - 12pm at Parry Field Lawyers, Riccarton

Tech for Good: What business models work best?

With a bunch of interesting speakers including John Ascroft (Jade), Menno Finlay-Smits (Cacophony Project), Dave Lane (Open Source guru), Steven Moe (Local Podcast innovator & lawyer), Georgia Robertson (Humanitix) & Tim Jones (GM of Growing Good) this will be an interesting discussion.

More info click here

***Tuesday 21st May 3pm-5pm at Signal ICT, 181 High St (in front of Little High)

Delivering world class results by combining innovation and product management frameworks

Product Management workshop introducing the concepts of Doblin's Ten Types of Innovation, a leading innovation methodology and framework.

A bunch of amazing speakers including:

Tas Gould, Xero, Delphine Ducurage, OnSite, Andrei Link, Multiplier, Pat McLarin, Seequent, Mathias Roehring, Trimble, Nigel Sharpling, Infact, Tim Trewinnard, Jade

More info click here

***Tuesday 21st May 6pm-8pm BizDojo, Christchurch

Blockchain & Business: Where programmable finance will take us

Topics will include:

Programmable value - How smart contracts will shift the way we exchange value.

Blockchain in New Zealand - Hear about what's happening here in NZ from Business & Thought leaders. 

Decentralized Finance: How DeFi is bringing 2.5 billion unbanked individuals into the global economy.

More info here

***Wednesday 22nd May 4pm-6pm at Signal ICT, 181 High St (in front of Little High)

How to SLAY in Tech without getting technical - Women in Tech

Tas, a product owner from Xero will talk about how to build a successful and rewarding career in Technology without sacrificing your lifestyle – or writing a single line of code!

More info click here

***Wednesday 22nd May 8.30am-5pm PAID $30

Location Intelligence 2019

The Orbica crew have organised one awesome event here with key notes from

Miles McConway (Environment Canterbury), Kurt Janssen (Orbica), Kris Herbert (Placecasting), Pip Gilbert (EROAD), Hirini Tane (Maori Maps)

More info click here

***Wednesday 22nd May

UC Connect: Inspired by Nature: Engineering as an Art Form

Beauty in design goes well beyond architecture and ornamentation. It is found in all fields of engineering and has even launched an entirely new field of biologically inspired design called biomimicry.

Biomimicry studies how nature solves problems, such as flight and low-drag swimming, and applies those principles to engineered solutions. This field of study has brought about incredible breakthroughs – microscopic cameras that can “swarm” into a larger image, swimsuits that have the texture of shark skin, and robots that can climb windows or fly like butterflies.

More info here: https://techweek.co.nz/whats-on/2019/uc-connect-inspired-by-nature-engineering-as-an-art-form-452/

***Thursday 23rd May 10.30am - 3pm Catalyst, 284 Kilmore St, Christchurch.

Git Training with Catalyst

Communicate, collaborate and document your work with this free training session in using Git from Senior Developer Chris Burgess.

More info click here

***Thursday 23rd May 5pm-8pm, Tait technology center, 245 Woolridge Rd

The Future of Work: The 4th Industrial Revolution

Ben Reid, Executive director of AI, New Zealand will blow our minds on how AI & Machine Learning is impacting our world.

Major themes are the growing focus on and importance of:

- Keeping up with AI, automation, robotics and the impact of tech
- Beating the machines - how creativity, design and critical thinking will compete against tech
- Adapting and staying relevant in your role with exponential change in tech 

More info click here

This is only a snap shot of some of the great events - how do I get to them all I hear you say?

Have a great Tech Week - get out & learn new stuff, meet new friends (& old) and celebrate our fantastic Tech Industry in Christchurch and across New Zealand.

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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What are the trade offs with Open Source software from an IT staffing perspective?

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Open Source software has seen mass popularity with sharing of great ideas eventuating in collaboration between software engineers creating amazing tooling for everybody to use - for free.

But does it come with a hidden cost & a potential risk of difficult resourcing?

Something that I’ve noticed over the years is that companies need to consider the trade off between using exciting open source tooling and readily available skills / experience in the market.

Open source software or new tooling might solve a problem & be free (open to the community) but will you be able to hire that skill set? Especially if that technology or tool sets are very new or leading edge it might be difficult to get an expert within that open source software whereas sometimes it can be easier to go for something mainstream (that has an upfront cost & vendor support) but not a down stream cost. Not great if every time you need to recruit you have to hire an obscure expert from overseas to work on your specialist software (which is also fine but can take time).

If you do have a couple of experts in say that particular technology, functional or new languages….how replaceable are they? And can you get some colleagues or other engineers around them to have some knowledge sharing & transfer? Think long-term planning or dare I say the ‘Red bus’ scenario in which ‘what happens if that person won’t be here tomorrow’? Food for thought….and it really can be scary…

Another take is that a good software engineer can learn any language. Object oriented languages are similar to each other as are functional languages and a good senior software engineer should be able to pick up new languages, but of course all languages have different nuances & it depends on how deep you need that knowledge… Deep I hear you say ;-)

We often will keep an eye on the market for the clients we partner with, alerting them of rare skill sets that may arrive overseas or return home to Christchurch, sometimes it’s not the best timing but’s always good to be thinking ahead with your IT resourcing so as not to put unwanted pressure on your people, teams & inevitably your customers & get into a tight spot.

So my advice is to be proactive, especially if you have a niche skill set, and look at knowledge sharing & skills transfer between people in your teams. It can also be useful to be active in local user groups, to get teams or individuals to give presentations, and to get involved and be known to the community in that particular skill set. It’s fun & enriching for devs etc too.

And while we’re on ‘Community’ that’s where the global community within Open Source really kicks in where ideas & information are shared and this can become your first port of call for enticing new staff that are known to your devs & people active in that Open Source community.

‘Grow your own’ - bring in graduates that you can train up on your own tech stack (yes easier said than done, as it takes time), the way you want them to work & they can bring fresh ideas, passion & new energy. It also gives an opportunity for Senior Devs to mentor & lead by example. It can be a great idea to have a couple of interns in to do sand pit projects & they can turn into your next grad hires & eventual rock stars.

If it does get too much, sometimes it’s a good move to bring in an IT contractor, or consider remote working to help out in busy times to bridge the gap. 

The key takeaway here is plan ahead for rare skill sets within Open Source, be proactive in all these different areas and that should see you right for future growth.

We currently have a number of exciting roles in the Open Source space in Christchurch please check out:

Lead Full Stack Web Developer, Christchurch

Senior Software Engineer (Python), Christchurch

Python Software Engineer, Christchurch

Exploratory Software Tester, Christchurch

Web Apps Developer, Christchurch

UI/UX Designer / Front-End Developer, Christchurch

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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Why has FinTech exploded in the last few years?

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Like many industries financial services, banking & share / stock trading, and payments have been good targets for disruption with a profusion of new, faster solutions coming to the fore.

So why is this?

With large distributed systems giving huge computing power, software can automate processes that eliminate human error and large banks and financial organisations can gain major wins in efficiencies & competitive advantage….

Software companies can provide real-time trading systems that allow for high availability data with low latency that can eliminate human error on the more manual tasks & provide quicker decision making.


So what exactly does High Availability mean?


High availability is when your apps remain available and accessible without any interruption and serve their intended function seamlessly. HA is achieved when your database cluster continues to operate even if one or more servers go down.


What is Low Latency?

Low Latency describes a computer network that is optimised to process a very high volume of data with minimal delay (latency). These networks are designed to support operations that require near real-time access to rapidly changing data.


One of our clients uses a cutting edge data-orientated architecture that enables seamless integration of software systems, super clear visibility and control over enterprise data, and a wide range of large integrated business applications that enables scaleable high performance trading applications for some of the largest financial organisations on earth.

It’s an exciting industry as you have the opportunity to work with super fast software on super fast networks using cutting edge techniques with the excitement that millions of dollars are traded every day. It’s not for everyone but if you want to work with the best in the business and raise your game get in touch with Paul

We currently have a number of roles we’re looking to recruit for an exciting growing Christchurch office:

Trading Systems Support Engineer 

Applications Support Engineer

Technical Implementation Software Consultant (Trading Systems)

Technical Implementation Software Consultant

Senior Network Engineer 

Get in touch with Paul now to find out more on paul@sunstonetalent.com

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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