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Contract PHP Developer Jobs: State of the Market

Laravel is now the worlds most popular PHP framework and the number of jobs on the market reflect this. CodeIgniter, once the underdog has grown in popularity to second place. Symfony is still growing in popularity and whilst probably the most flexible and most well documented, falls into third place. 


It’s May 2022 and my rolling contract has come to an end. My first few searches for contract PHP jobs have come back with quite limited results. On the jobs website that I use, around 20 results have come back for contract roles posted in the last seven days. It appears that most roles that specify PHP as the core language are looking for candidates with significant Laravel experience. Second most popular are roles require Magento experience and in last place, are those asking for Symfony. 

Job Title KeywordsFrameworksAvg. Occurrence (out of 10)
PHP developerLaravel (main), vanilla PHP, 4+ years exp.5/10
PHP developerSymfony (main), vanilla PHP, 4+ years exp.2/10
PHP developerMagento (main), vanilla PHP, 4+ years exp.3/10

As I apply for a few roles (those I see myself fit for) I find the same trends each day for about three weeks. I land a couple of interviews very quickly but then things seem to slow down a lot. The interviews go quite well. After three days I call the recruiter but am unable to reach them. The search goes on. On average, nine out of ten applications I send have resulted in a call back from a recruiter so my CV is spot on at least. Around four out of ten applications result in a request for interview but it’s now been four weeks and I still have not landed a job.


It is now the start of July. I have four interviews pending. One contract position (inside IR35), two contract positions (outside IR35) and a permanent role (unwanted but keeping options open). The permanent employer is keen and the recruiter repeatedly tries to get in touch to arrange an interview. I am called twice a day 3 times during that week for the perm role but silence in regards to the contracts. I find myself stalling the perm role. Finally the contract role (inside IR35) contacts me for an interview and I agree. A day later, I then get interview requests from the last two contracts. 


Finally! Three interviews happen. The perm role was a no no from the start so that get’s dropped almost immediately.  The other interviews go really well. Of the three, one required a technical challenge which was easy enough. The other two had challenging discussions with fairly technical people but nothing unexpected. The next day I am made three offers.


1.) A Laravel role.

2.) A Symfony+Drupal role paying marginally more than the first and lastly

3.) A contract role inside IR35 paying less than the first two but Symfony based.


Options are weighed and a choose. All together this process has taken just shy of 7 weeks. Good job I had my pet project to keep me going! Speaking of pet project look out for my next post, which will discuss a concept I am calling Unified User Interfaces (UUI).