Singapore’s contracting market matures

Choosing flexible recruiting solutions.

With its highly educated and multiskilled workforce, world-class infrastructure, and strategic location in the Asia-Pacific region, such is Singapore’s potential as a tech talent ecosystem that the nation has acquired the moniker ‘Silicon Valley of Asia’. The past year has been marked by an influx of world-renowned tech companies establishing hubs in Singapore, and there are more to come. One obstacle to their success, however, is recruitment hesitancy.

Despite a desire to expand, the aftereffects of the pandemic endure, and companies remain cautious of overreaching headcounts. Moreover, border controls and difficulties in attaining work passes means that accessing overseas talent is rarely an option. As a result, many of these companies – in the tech sphere and beyond – are turning to Hays Flexible Recruitment Services (FRS).

“Hays has more than a decade of experience in Singapore, and in that time, we have seen the contracting sector mature in its ability to significantly advantage both candidates and employers,” says Paul Newell, Business Director at Hays Singapore.

“To this end we have developed comprehensive flexible recruitment solutions that provide premium candidates by way of a streamlined, fuss free and employer focused model, making it the best contracting option in Singapore.”

The most immediate benefit for recruiters lies in headcount management, as staffing outlays are only required as and when they are needed, whilst external recruitment advertising is negated. Furthermore, as contractors remain Hays employees, administration, interviews, and administration are undertaken by the FRS team.

“Yet the greatest advantage is the agility afforded by having direct access to an extensive pool of highly specialised, instantaneously available talent,” continues Paul, “which means that as and when projects arrive or demands fluctuate, FRS is on hand to fill positions without lengthy onboarding processes.”

Unfortunately, in Singapore contracting has not always been considered a preferential form of employment, and an element of stigma remains. However, candidates are coming round to the possibilities that it provides.

“Professionals in the region are realising that, should they wish to work at one of the large, global tech firms, their current CVs may not meet expectations. However, if they take a temporary role, where requirements may be less exacting, contracting provides an excellent entry point. Once there they can showcase their capabilities, potentially resulting in full-time appointments. If not, then they leave with their CV augmented by a great project at a world class company,” adds Paul.

“Likewise, project managers and developers who as permanent hires would perhaps work on just one or two projects per year, by working at numerous companies they are able to put their hand to many more, often on the most cutting-edge enterprises. This results in a CV standing out, keeps skills up to date and provides a higher level of job satisfaction.

“Furthermore, for candidates from sectors affected by the pandemic, contracting means that they are able to gain experience in a variety of other industries, leading to a new career lease of life.”

Professionals who wish to move into contracting, particularly in the tech sector, must be aware that their skillsets will be under scrutiny. Hard skills such as coding and data-related abilities aside, most companies will be looking out for those who can demonstrate adaptability and are able to put their hands to a variety of tasks. Interpersonal skills are also a must.

“Many of us have spent the last year working from home, functioning by way of scheduled and perfunctory online meetings, and so when we get back into the office reaffirming soft skills will be essential,” says Paul. “This is especially true of the tech sector, where the stereotype of the coder or developer with few social skills prevails. Should they marry technical abilities with superlative soft skills, they will find themselves on the top of companies’ target lists.”

But if companies are determined to attract these top professionals, then it is imperative that they bring temporary staff in line with their full-time employees.

“On the whole, contractors in Singapore are unlikely to receive regular benefits, and unlike in more mature markets they are not compensated at higher rates,” adds Paul. “These risks creating a division between temporary and permanent staff, but should companies break the disparity working environments will improve, making them more attractive as employers, potentially developing long-term connections.”

And developing connections is at the centre of FRS’s modus operandi. Hays has a long history of forging relationships in Singapore, with both companies and candidates, and this will remain crucial as the governemnt continues its drive to boost Singapore resident recruitment.

“Unlike other flexible recruiters, we have a strong local network, meaning that we are perfectly poised to take forward-thinking steps as the gloabal situation improves. And currently, Singapore has 18 months’ worth of pent-up demand ready to explode, meaning that hiring opportunities abound.

“Fortunately, we have an expert team of consultants who can assist candidates with interviews and identify the right talent for employers. We firmly believe that the coming year can be the one where the contracting market finally matures and, most importantly, bears fruit.”



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