We were asked this question for the first time by a contractor recently. We hadn't been asked to rate Umbrella Companies in Australia specifically for Information Technology before. Most umbrella companies can cover all white collar professions including the major contracting industries of IT, Finance, Engineering and Telecommunications. The low risk, fully compliant Australian tax minimisation structures are rely primarily on the three core elements of salary sacrifice, super annuation and allowable expenses. These don't really vary by industry and any other benefits like reduced rates for professional memberships are more for marketing purposes than offering a compelling reason to choose a provider. So whilst some companies will focus almost exclusively on IT, this is not due to their solution offering some compelling benefit to IT contractors. Rather they have chosen to target IT contractors.
The exception comes in the the Mining and Oil & Gas sectors. Umbrella Companies dealing with these industries who require different insurance due to the nature of work and quite often the location as well. It goes without saying that insurance companies don't view working on a mine in the Pilbara in the same way as working at the Commonwealth Bank. But the Umbrella Company is required to hold an insurance policy that covers all their staff. Contractors may be required to have specialised health insurance like Medivac insurance. So often an Umbrella Company will have to choose whether they deal with blue collar workers or white collar.
The most important factors remain the same when choosing an Umbrella Company in Australia, whether you are contracting in IT or an offshore O&G rig.
1) Net retention - how much do you get after all fees, medicare levy, superannuation and taxes?
2) Compliance - is the solution approved by the tax office?
2) Reliability - has the company been around for a while? are they financially stable?
3) Customer Service - can you pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows your name and can resolve any problems?