Singaporean companies are hiring, with lots of opportunities in finance contracting

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Singaporean companies are feeling more positive about hiring according to the latest quarterly research published by Hudson today, which says nearly half employers surveyed are planning to add jobs in the next three months.

The Hudson employment trends review of the second quarter of 2013 says hiring intentions are at their highest level since the last three months of 2011. Executive GM Andrew Tomich believes there is growing economic confidence in Singapore, which is having a positive effect on recruiting.

In the past three months 48.7% of employers said they planned to increase headcount, up five and half percentage points on the previous quarter. There was a two and half percentage point decline to 2.7% in the number of companies planning to lay off staff.

The research reveals that contracting in banking and financial services is becoming increasingly robust, with employers solving pressures on headcount by taking on temporary staff. Hudson says that the companies surveyed planned to increase the number of contractors they used by 18 percentage points, with risk control, risk management and compliance roles in high demand.

Craig Brewer, director of banking and financial services for Hudson’s Singapore office, says many of the contract roles are well suited to people who have been laid off or are between jobs. “Ideally candidates need to be able to start work within days or one or two weeks at most.”

He says that financial services professionals who are interested in taking on a contract role need to be flexible and understand that Singapore works differently compared to other finance markets, such as London or Australia, where temp finance workers can earn lucrative wages.

“Try to get as close to your previous base salary as you can – say within 10% - but understand that you may need to swallow a pay cut and do without a flash title. See the contract job as a stop-gap between your last and next permanent role, and go in and make a good impression.” This advice, he adds, is particularly relevant to people at the senior vice president level and above.

The trend of using contract workers is being adopted by both domestic and regional banks, as well as foreign banks. The global banks are finding it hard, Brewer says, to get permanent headcount signed off, while the local and regional banks are hiring contractors to get projects done.

Temporary jobs are being created across the board in finance, accounting, back office and even compliance, says Brewer, with the exception of areas such as regulatory risk, audit and tax. “Typically, the more specialist roles are the domain of permanent employees.”