Contract Work an Attractive Option in a Competitive Job Market

business men and women marching

A shift is underway in how businesses manage their human resources. In the current economic climate, companies are increasingly incorporating temporary and contract professionals into their overall staffing mix to reduce costs and gain flexibility.

The reasons for companies to hire contract staff are well documented. Traditionally, using temporary professionals are primarily to reduce cost, maintain productivity during workload peaks and troughs, provide support during interim periods while searching for permanent employees and evaluate the need for specific positions before committing to the costs involved in creating a permanent role.

Increasingly, however, companies are hiring senior advisory roles on project basis for special situations such as introducing new or specialised skills into the organisation that may be lacking amongst permanent employees. Given the various regulatory changes in the banking and finance industry, the rise in corporate restructuring, and mergers and acquisitions over the past year, we are anticipating an even greater demand for senior contract specialists in Hong Kong. In particular, those who are equipped with in-demand skills such as project management and change management experience, as well as track record in supporting banking reform such as Basel III compliance.

The strong association between social status and being employed full time that is deeply embedded in the Chinese culture may have prevented many professionals from considering temporary work in the past. However, there are many compelling benefits to contract work, from both a lifestyle and career development perspective, that we believe it deserves another look.

Why consider taking up a temporary or contract role?

  • A temporary or contract job is a great way to learn more about a company, helping you decide if it is the type of company you’d like to work for on a permanent basis.
  • In more challenging economic times, many companies have freezes on permanent headcount. By working as a temporary or contract professional, you could get hired by a company that could not afford you otherwise.
  • Many companies opt to hire on a ‘temporary to permanent basis’ which allows them to assess candidates on the job before committing to a permanent hire.
  • It is always easier to find a job when you have one. By opening yourself up to the temporary and contract job market, you increase your chances of getting a job.
  • Temporary and contract jobs are a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network.
  • It provides an opportunity to learn new skill sets and gain experience in another industry / sector, which would be extremely useful during an interview for a permanent position.

Making temporary workers feel at home

Same as any employee, temporary staff members should be made to feel valued and given the support necessary to deliver results. Here are a few tips:

  • Give interim personnel a space to call their own and make sure all necessary equipment, supplies and communication tools, such as email and intranet access, are up and running.
  • Give the person a tour of the office, introduce them to key personnel, explain how your department works, and provide a brief summary of policies, procedures and expectations.
  • Be sure to give kudos to temporary personnel just as you would full-time workers.

Contributed by Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong