The IT consulting industry can be viewed as a Four-tier system:
- Professional services firms which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates.
- Staffing firms, which place technologists with businesses on a temporary basis, typically in response to employee absences, temporary skill shortages and technical projects.
- Independent consultants, who are self-employed or who function as employees of staffing firms (for US tax purposes, employed on Form W-2), or as independent contractors in their own right (for US tax purposes, on "1099").
- Information Technology security consultants