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As a contract engineer, negotiating an assignment contract can be challenging. Luckily, technical recruiters excel at negotiating contract terms and conditions. Ian Talty, Director of Recruiting, shares Triple Crown’s approach to understanding your market value as an engineer, key contract terms to consider, and how to prepare for contract negotiations. Ian also discusses how you can become familiar with essential contract terms and conditions. 

Defining your Market Value  

When assessing your market value as an engineer, consider these four areas when it comes to compensation: Industry Experience, Niche Skillsets, Client Urgency, and Supply and Demand. 

  • Industry Experience can be broken up into three categories, 1-3 years, 3-5 years, and 8+ years. As you gain industry experience, you become a proven asset, increasing your hourly rate.  
  • Niche Skillsets can influence hourly rates. For example, engineers that are skilled in Digital Design: ASIC and FPGA, will command a higher pay rate because these skills are harder to perform and require a greater time commitment to develop. Conversely, skills that are less niche such as back-end and front-end web development will offer a lower pay rate.  
  • Supply and Demand can change how a skillset is valued. If a skillset is flooding the market, it will have a lower pay rate than a skillset that is in high demand but less available. Candidates can do their own research by looking at job boards and job postings to see what skillsets are in high demand. By connecting with your technical recruiter, they can handle this process for you, giving you real-time updates on the latest market trends. 
  • Client Urgency can significantly impact pay rates. Clients are often under strict deadlines and need a fully staffed team to accomplish their goals. If a client needs to complete a project on time, they will pay above market value to get candidates started as soon as possible. 

Key Contract Term Elements

Understanding the details of your contract is essential to having a successful start to your assignment. Before signing a contract, familiarize yourself with the project length. For example, contracts can have a defined end date, extend indefinitely, or can transition into a permanent role. In addition, confirm your working schedule and the hours that you are expected to log each week, this includes the PTO policy and holiday schedule.  

It’s also important to know the setting in which you will be performing your work. Determine if the role is onsite, hybrid, or remote, and communicate any requests or accommodations with your technical recruiter.  

Additionally, don’t forget to clarify the designated time sheet approver. It’s important to identify the primary and secondary approvers to have questions and disputes answered in a timely manner.  

Preparing for Negotiations

When preparing for a contract negotiation, leveraging the expertise of your technical recruiter is your best strategy. Recruiters collaborate closely with their account managers to deliver the best contract terms possible. By negotiating higher pay rates and longer assignment durations, you achieve shared success! To maximize your time and secure the contract terms you desire, communicate your expectations clearly with your recruiter. Sharing information about pending interviews or job offers can help your recruiter create urgency with the client and negotiate for better terms, conditions, and compensation. If you’re interested in getting the most out of your next contract, connect with a Triple Crown recruiter for expert guidance on your next opportunity!