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madpenguin

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Everything posted by madpenguin

  1. Any time ICT is threatened the papers are full of squeals of protest from large companies complaining that they can't survive without "highly skilled foreign workers" Being totally cynical I can only believe the politicians don't care, they will get nice cushy board and consultancy positions with the companies concerned when they leave office as their reward. :angry:
  2. Very true alas, why do you think they rotate them out every year?
  3. Hi Neither/ everyone, I too have lurked on this forum for years, I am also the guy (BobF) who wrote the response to Karl Flinders blog post that started this thread which was itself taken from another of Karls blog posts: http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/inside-outsourcing/2010/08/can-the-uk-government-really-offshore-tens-of-thousands-of-jobs.html#comments Neither in his 2 posts has basically nailed it as far as my point of view goes and sums up how I feel with how ICT has affected the industry particularly contracting. I actually felt strongly enough about this to go up to the Home Office to talk to the MAC about ICT early last year, their answer to my face was "while a few companies may be abusing the system ICT is vital to maintaining UK businesses competitiveness" , I went to the trouble of contacting them in the first place after an agent friend of mine told me about a major commercial company who had turned over it's entire IT staffing, literally hundreds of jobs over to Indian onshoring providers, he was worried about his own job and another guy under him as they got most of their business from this company, and I had also had a lot of work from this company. I don't see that the Governments attitude has changed despite getting rid of Brown. As for me taking jobs from a Dutchman as others have said, the company I work for isn't Dutch, and only offer a scandalous 25 days starting holiday entitlement, and don't pay travel fares to and from work (pretty much standard practice with Dutch companies or so I'm told), therefore every Dutch IT guy they offered turned them down, (those who have maligned contractors as being spoilt on here had better not hear the benefits Dutch workers get as standard!) I worked in Germany for a bit before this and believe me there is no recession in Germany or the Netherlands, I'm starting to treat the UK news outlets like Pravda was in the 60's talking about the West (For example saw an article in the Telegraph this morning claiming the UK's GDP would be higher than Germany's in a few years, in which alternative universe is this?). Anyway good luck to all of you, wish you luck whatever your profession
  4. At which point said robots think "Sod this for a lark, all this crap is interfering with me finding the true value of pi.... I know why don't we get all these useless human to do all the crap work?" In Ancient civilisations that employed slavery (Greece , Rome etc) I understand they were always careful to ensure there weren't too many slaves, as the poor free people had a tendency to riot and start burning things if too many of them were left out of work and starving. I suspect the same will apply to the use of Robots.
  5. Ho hum, Another day, another "Euro set to fail" post, funny thing is you never see these stories in Europe, only in the UK (usually in pompus articles in The Times). Last year I spent a year in Germany and no one seemed to be checking their notes for X's or any other letters, and working in a large company staffed by people from all over Europe I had the chance to ask the Italian, Greek, and Spanish guys whether they would like to pull out of the Euro, and overwelmingly the response was "WHAT? you really think we want the lira/drachma/peseta back!!!". If I had a choice at the moment I would far rather be holding Euro's than Sterling.
  6. I have worked on these kind of projects myself and the thing that defines them is the provider wanting to hire at the cheapest rates possible (hence the current on-shoring epidemic). I've also frequently run into "consultants" being provided for £1200 a day by the poncier consultancies who are actually new grads being paid perm salaries of £20-30k pa. None of the consultancies wouldn't shaft us if it meant a few quid for them, one "avon lady" doesn't amount to much but all of them nationally if contracting becomes unviable? Myself I feel we are at this point now, with rates going below £200 per day in London, and no certainty of getting another contract in a reasonable time period you're better off working perm
  7. Not just warm, absolutely boiling, I heard the Government asked a number of the biggest consultancies for advice when drawing up IR35, I can just imagine what they told them!
  8. Funnily enough at my last contract most of the application support guys I worked with were former developers, whose main reason for changing roles was that the pressure to get code out the door was so great that they never felt like they were doing a good job, just being badgered by PM's to meet unrealistic release dates. I wonder if this is a recent change
  9. I read somewhere once that Contractor's were forced into using Limited Companies by the Inland Revenue in the 70's. Apparently contractor's were able to claim too much in the way of expenses/tax by the sole trader/partnership route, and at the time Corporation tax was about the same rate as income tax, so no problem. I think they also liked compulsory yearly audits by a chartered accountant, made life easier for them. I worked with someone about 10 years ago who was a very senior Inland Revenue guy on attachment to the bank I was working for, and over lunch one day I asked what the thoughts were officially on contractors and the whole Limited Company thing, and he basically replied that where people wished to freelance then Limited Company was the preferred route so long as it wasn't being used by Companies to coerce workers into contract roles to save money, and provided they played the game on tax, i.e. no dodgy offshore bank accounts etc As time has gone on of course this attitude seems to have changed, however it's interesting that when HMRC banned Service Companies the preferred route was either Umbrella Company or Limited Company. As far as all the bitter comments about contractors on here go I don't see what the problem is, I once had a chat with a manager who said it was actually cheaper for companies to employ contractors when you take all the benefits employees get like holidays, life insurance etc. Contracting exists for a reason, we didn't go into companies and hold gun's to managers heads, companies need the facility to be able to hire staff with a particular skill and then kick them out when they were no longer needed without giving redundancy etc, in return the contractors got higher rates of pay to compensate for no employment rights or benefits, which in themselves companies only paid because that was the market rate, and now we have large pools of foreign workers willing to work for less rates go down. As for contractor skill level I find this is all down to the hiring manager, if a company hires contractors in the first place they either need an esoteric skill they can't train existing staff for (rare in my experience), or they are in a real mess anyway and don't know how to use their perm staff let alone contractors. For any crap contractor I have met I have met many more useless permanent staff who are basically just seat warmers, just sitting round moaning about how hard done by they are, with little or no skill or experience, who would never have the guts to support themselves on 3 monthly contracts (wot no paid holidays, shudder!). It's easy to claim to be god within a narrowly defined skill set, but try going into a company where the perm staff have only a hazy knowledge of the infrastructure, undocumented code, obviously written by someone who'd used a "for dummies" book, on servers full of security vulnerabilities, using 3 different o/s's, supporting a national user base, and then you'll get my respect (and yes I have had to do this this on more than a few occasions, pretty much describes most of the Corporate clients I've worked for). Access used to be my pet nightmare application "so good old Fred in accounts knocked this up, and it's got 50 fields in just the one table, which is several gig in size and your using it nationally over 128kbps leased lines? ok......" (Fred looks over beaming proudly)
  10. Hi, I've been in IT for 22 years and I have contracted continuously for 16 years. I specialize in Application support, particularly for Java based application servers i.e. Jboss, Tomcat etc on UNIX/Linux. My last contract (In Germany) ended on 30th April this year and I have had no work since, despite sending out well over 1100 applications (permanent and contract). This is without doubt the most serious downturn I have experienced. As far as IT goes Intra-company transfers are absolutely the main cause of the problems in the job market, after all letting in over 35,000 foreign nationals a year (freedom of information request from the Home Office obtained by one of the Unions), with no Visa's was bound to have an impact in time. Also these guys can search for other jobs whilst they are over here, and after 3 years can apparently apply for UK citizenship despite not having gone through the Visa process. The companies bringing ICT staff over are supposed to pay the same as for a UK employee but abuse is widespread, as these guys are usually paid their home salary plus a supplement for working overseas in their own currency to a foreign bank making it complex for the UK government (If they are bothered) to check. I understand the norm paid to these guys is equivalent to about £15k pa. A number of my former clients (all major stock market listed companies) now almost exclusively employ ICT staff (either their own, or from outsoucers) for most support and development roles, and I hear they are now doing the same for accountancy and law. Whilst I was working in Germany I saw a feature on International BBC news regarding the British Embassy in Vietnam. They were organizing tours for UK companies to visit Vietnamese factories to see how they could improve their "competitiveness" (nice use of UK tax payers money!). We are doomed!
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