Demand for temp staff, interim professionals in Singapore soars to highest in 3 years

Pedestrians crossing the traffic light junction at Church Street on Jun 3, 2015.
Pedestrians crossing the traffic light junction at Church Street on Jun 3, 2015. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Accounting, finance and banking professionals are in hot demand right now as companies in Singapore rush to get additional staff on board to meet their end of year deadlines.

According to recruitment firm Robert Half, experienced employees prepared to work on an interim basis are commanding top dollar as firms face a talent shortage between November and March.

The jobs rush is caused by the need for companies to finalise their accounts before the end of the year and to kick-start strategies that will benefit their business in the new year.

Ms Stella Tang, managing director of Robert Half Singapore said the company had been getting many requests from companies to find temporary staff and experienced interim professionals before the year end.

"Singapore is experiencing a jobs rush as demand for interim and temporary staff reaches its highest level since three years ago."

"Many companies find it easier to get approval for contract hires than it is to get approval to appoint more full-time employees. So when the work load increases, as it does at the end on the financial year, companies go into the employment market to temporarily beef up their teams."

Robert Hall said the growing use of interim professionals and temporary staff is confirmed by its survey of 550 chief financial officers (CFOs), including 150 CFOs from Singapore.

According to the survey, 73 per cent of Singapore firms - or three out of every four - have increased the number of interim professionals and temporary staff compared to three years ago. This is well above the increase in Hong Kong (69 per cent), Japan (68 per cent) and the UK (67 per cent).

The practice is especially common among mid-sized firms with between 250 and 499 employees, said Robert Half. The percentage of mid-sized firms that have increased their temporary staff and interim professionals is 80 per cent compared to 68 per cent of small firms and 72 per cent of large firms.

Ms Tang said that a growing number of employees prefer to work on a contract or interim basis as it gives them the flexibility to manage their family responsibilities or to use the time between projects to pursue other ambitions in their lives.

"As with many consultant positions, they may also be asked to stay longer or join in a full-time capacity if they prove themselves indispensable," she said.