How contracting can help your firm ramp up, while keeping lean

The banking sector is increasingly looking to contracting

How contracting can help your firm ramp up, while keeping lean
fessional recruiting group Hays advises that firms – especially in the banking and finance sectors – look to contracting as a means to ramp up operations, without bloating their ranks.

Employment opportunities remain slim in the Singaporean market as roughly 8 in 10 employers report they wouldn’t be increasing staffing levels this year. But according to Hays, organisations in a range of sectors are looking to hire new employees on a contractual basis to keep pace with growing workloads.

Lynne Roeder, managing director for Hays in Singapore, cited the IFRS 9 and BASEL 3 regulatory changes in the banking sector as examples of how firms can look to contracting as a viable alternative to hiring full-time employees.

“These are large projects with very specific timelines that must be met if banks are to avoid hefty penalties,” she said. “As a result, we are seeing high demand for a range of [contractual] roles including project and program managers as well as developers.”

The International Labour Organization (ILO) warns against an over-reliance on temporary workers, citing both economic and ethical downsides to the practice. But, according to Hays, contracting remains a great opportunity for employers to maximize efficiency and for candidates to join premium companies with short supply of openings for permanent roles.

The group outlined their trend forecasts for the contracting industry, a point of interest for any firm looking to increase their output while keeping lean:
  • We anticipate upward pressure on contracting rates for senior and niche roles due to the overall strength of the contracting market and the intense competition for the best candidates.
  • Employers are trying to resist rate rises by offering more benefits to contractors such as flexible working conditions and medical cover, but this may not be enough to secure a preferred candidate as demand for their skills’ increases and they can choose between multiple offers.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for all project-based roles, but particularly for those on three to six month contracts who must engage team members and senior stakeholders immediately.
  • There is currently a growing focus on contract roles in the accounting area requiring expertise in the M&A field, business development and strategic consulting. As offshoring continues, transactional finance roles are increasingly rare with companies moving these positions to shared service centres overseas to cut costs.
  • The roll out of IFRS 9 and BASEL 3 in financial services is creating very strong demand for senior program managers and project managers with experience driving large, multi-country change programs to tight deadlines. This is also creating demand for those project managers to run the business side of the implementation and deal with senior stakeholders.
  • Banking operations professionals as well as back and middle office contracting roles remains popular in banking.
  • Although the offshoring phenomenon in technology organisations and departments has driven many permanent helpdesk and infrastructure roles overseas, demand for contract professionals remains high as organisations require an on-the-ground presence for specific projects.

Related stories:
Local firms expected to ramp up temporary hires
ILO study warns against over reliance on temporary employment

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