Local firms see value of contract hires

Contract hires are gradually forming a larger proportion of a company's workforce, with nearly 68 per cent of local firms saying contractors are part of their staff headcount, a new survey has found.

Findings of the Michael Page 2017 Asia Salary & Employment Outlook stated that four in five Singapore companies are planning to maintain or increase contract hires this year. This is a continuing trend in the current employment market, it said.

Specialist professionals are securing temporary hire to work on freelance "gigs" or projects because of job flexibility as well as learning and development opportunities, the study said, where projects last anywhere between three months and 12 months, depending on the role.

Banking operations are dominant among contract hires, with 52 per cent of opportunities coming from that sector. Positions in the technology and business support sectors are in second place with 41 per cent of opportunities, according to the study.

Companies are also recognising the value of hiring contract workers, according to the study which included the participation of nearly 450 employers in Singapore.

"We have observed companies adopting strategies such as annual leave, medical benefits and completion bonuses to engage the professional contracting workforce," said Mr Anthony Thompson, regional managing director at Michael Page.

He observed that demand for specialist short-term hires is high in industries with acute shortage of talent, like the digital and technology sectors.

"These qualified professionals are often hired to plan, implement and execute specific projects based on the business direction of the organisation," Mr Thompson said.

Acceptance of contract work is also gaining ground in Hong Kong, the study said.

Nearly 85 per cent of employers surveyed in Hong Kong and Singapore were planning to increase and retain contractors in the next 12 months. Companies now have a ready pool of candidates, including experienced and qualified mid- to senior-level managers to choose from as more professionals warm up to the idea of contract work, the study said.


This article was first published on March 6, 2017.
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