I am evaluating the first employment contract in the UK for a mid senior position as a software and algorithm developer. They offered me a fixed-term contract for 3 years with a 3 months period notice. It seems to me a bit excessive, since the job is not permanent, but I do not have many terms of reference. Can the notice period be different between fixed term and permanent jobs?
Notice periods in the UK often reflect the rank of an employee. The idea is that higher ranking employees generally oversee tasks with higher impact and a longer time frame than lower ranking employees. Thus, there is more potential damage to the company if they leave suddenly.
In this case rank is synonymous with pay. 3 months sounds typical for someone earning more than £50k although this will vary by industry.
Is it appropriate?
It is perfectly ok for them to ask you for a 3 months period, as it is perfectly ok for you to ask on the reasons for such longer-than-usual period (and perhaps try to shorten it).
You should then decide if this notice period is an issue for you and if you should take this offer. Unless you plan to terminate the contract earlier I don't think this will be an issue though.
This is a contractor work, so it would make sense for the company to ask for a longer-than-usual notice period. This, most likely, due to the fact that there would have to be a transition between you and the next people they hire to finish the project, something that can take quite some time (specially between unrelated parties).