SINGAPORE - Contract employees are often associated with lower-skilled and junior workers but in fact a new survey has found that over half of professionals on contract have more than a decade of qualified experience.
The study by human resource firm Page Personnel found that contracting professionals with specialised skills, higher education and more years of experience are increasingly the norm in Asia's workforce today.
Reflecting similar trends in the global landscape, contract employees are also expected to work autonomously and be more flexible while on assignments, the survey found.
The study took in responses from 1,954 managers in companies deploying temporary staff and 4,092 professionals across 65 countries around the globe.
"Due to the changing economic landscape, Asia has seen an increased demand for professional and qualified contractors. Expectations of contract staff have also risen -they're expected to do more in less time, have better educational qualifications and be able to work independently," said Page Personnel Singapore associate director Mellissa Mayne.
The findings come just after the Ministry of Manpower, the labour movement and the Singapore National Employers Federation released a set of guidelines on Monday which clarified the benefits that contract staff are entitled to.
For example, the guidelines encourage employers to treat contracts renewed within a month as continuous, and grant leave benefits based on the cumulative term of contracts, for contracts of 14 days or more.
Traditionally, contracting was limited to professions considered labour-intensive and at the junior level. As a result of increased demands for project management or specialised interim hiring, contracting opportunities for qualified professionals have grown, Page Personnel said.
This has also resulted in 56 per cent of the current contract workforce qualified with 10 years or more experience.
This was seen particularly within financial services, finance and accounting, secretarial and office support as well as information technology.
Communication skills have become a major requirement from contract employees as 90 per cent of those surveyed are expected to engage with other internal business units.
Contract employees are granted more autonomy as 79 per cent of respondents reported having to work without close supervision.