Singapore Companies Hire More Contractual Workers, Face Talent Crunch

From: Asiabiz Services Pte Ltd
Published: Fri Sep 10 2010

A new survey conducted by global accounting group ACCA Singapore and recruitment firm Robert Half International showed a significant increase in the number of companies hiring contractual or temporary staffs to close the widening gap in the finance and accounting sector.

Based on the survey, Robert Half managing director Tim Hird said at least 47 percent of the respondents said that their companies hired more contractual workers, even to highly technical and specialized jobs, due to the talent crunch in Singapore’s finance and accounting sector.

"The number of companies hiring contractual workers nearly doubled from last year as talent pool for finance and accounting remained scarce," Hird said.

According to ACCA Singapore country head Darryl Wee, many companies opted to hire temporary workers and flexible talent pools, allowing them to adjust readily to the changing economic conditions and save on operations costs.

"Many market players noted that temporary staffs are more on the back-office finance works and not necessarily on accounting firms. Audit firms were also relying less to contractual workers," Wee added.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP assurance leader in Singapore Yeoh Oon Jin backed up Wee’s claims, saying that flexible talent pools give companies more options since contractual workers also has the skills set and credentials that could meet the requirements of the business.

Of the 1,600 accountants and middle to back-office finance professionals who were interviewed, almost 100 percent met the qualification standards such as accounting accreditation and experience.

These workers also act as buffers and support functions as client-serving teams, who are designated to follow through the clients and deals more frequently with sensitive information, Yeoh said.

On the other hand, Hird said that many companies, despite having large volumes of contractual workers, still opted to retain existing talents to develop for a long-term employment basis.

Based on the survey, Singapore and Hong Kong have the most serious problem when it comes to skill shortage, compared to its closest economic rivals Australia and New Zealand.

Because of the shortage in Singaporean workers, business solutions provider Rikvin said that the government is encouraging foreigners who hold Permanent Residence Status to apply for citizenship, and has recently passed immigration policies that would attract talents from abroad.

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