Contract work a hit with professionals: Survey

Contract work is attracting more professionals with specialised skills and more years of qualified experience.
Contract work is attracting more professionals with specialised skills and more years of qualified experience. PHOTO: REUTERS

Poll shows those with specialised skills and more years of experience drawn to 'temping'

Contract work is attracting more professionals with specialised skills and more years of qualified experience, a survey out yesterday shows.

It found that 56 per cent of contract employees here have over 10 years of qualified experience.

This contradicts the traditional view that contracting is "limited to professions considered labour-intensive and at the junior level", according to London-based recruitment consultants Page Personnel, which undertook the survey.

The online study polled 1,954 managers in companies deploying temporary and interim staff, and 4,092 professionals on temporary assignments in 65 countries. In Asia, 201 managers and 141 interim staff were surveyed. The study found that the trend of increasingly qualified contract employees may be due to both supply and demand factors.

Employers are seeking more specialised temporary workers to meet specific needs of their company and, at the same time, they can screen potential candidates for permanent positions.

"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 Ms Mellissa Mayne, associate director of Page Personnel Singapore.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

We are seeing an increase in the number of working parents in Singapore who return to the workforce on contracting hires after starting a family.
We have also seen very experienced professionals turning to contracting... Most times, (they) have reached the peak in their career and are looking to take a step back in their work life to have personal time.

MS MELLISSA MAYNE, associate director of Page Personnel Singapore.

The rising need for contract workers to become more adaptive - having good communication skills is essential, for example, as 90 per cent of those polled are expected to engage with other internal business units - prompts employers to be more willing to invest in training.

On the supply side, professionals themselves are seeking temporary assignments to gain more autonomy over their working hours.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of working parents in Singapore who return to the workforce on contracting hires after starting a family," said Ms Mayne.

"We have also seen very experienced professionals turning to contracting... Most times, (they) have reached the peak in their career and are looking to take a step back in their work life to have personal time."

The survey identified marketing, accounting and secretarial as sectors seeing a growing demand for temporary staff.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'Contract work a hit with professionals: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe