SHORT-TERM work or temporary positions have proven to be a viable option for both employers and employees.

This benefits hiring managers facing challenges in permanent headcount approval, as well as professionals seeking varied industry experience.

Specialist professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore explores the key insights for the coming year:

Business sentiments

The year 2013 started strongly for contract recruitment and there is a clear interest from organisations to explore this hiring approach.

Companies facing increasing difficulty to gain full-time employment (FTE) headcount approval have started to recognise that contract hires are a swift solution to resource gaps.

Aiding this decision, the calibre of temporary talent available in the market meets the standards and requirements set by employers.

In particular, project-related recruitment within the industrial and financial services spaces will see an increase.

The growth of contract recruitment

Temporary hires are anticipated to become the key to workforce planning for companies throughout 2013.

Hence, with more contract roles available in the market, the candidate talent pool has increased substantially in both volume and quality.

The previous stigma favouring permanent careers over temporary roles is also decreasing.

Trailing spouses and returnee mums

The micro-trend of trailing spouses and mums returning to work will continue to rise this year.

These professionals use the opportunity of increasing contract opportunities to find employment, and this has been more evident in areas such as human resources and business support.

Contract roles offer the perfect entry point for a new candidate arriving in Singapore and mothers re-entering the workforce.

This provides the chance to gain their entry into companies quickly, allowing mothers to settle back into the corporate world or for trailing spouses to gain that critical Singapore experience.

For mothers with family commitment, temporary positions allow flexibility and better work-life balance.

Diversity in skill sets

Practitioners with years of experience in one industry have expressed interest in taking up contract roles or short-term projects in a different sector to acquire varied skills.

Companies also benefit from having a candidate with a higher level of experience to upskill their departments and bring niche knowledge to specific projects.

Who will be in demand?

Professionals with regional experience are sought after, as many roles require business knowledge of South-east Asia.

Due to many offshoring projects within the foreign banks, a large number of product control, regulatory reporting and change management roles will have open opportunities.

With increased project regulations, compliance positions within the banks and commerce industries have also risen.

With more shared services accounting functions returning to Singapore, growth in the finance market recruitment across all levels of seniority is anticipated in 2013.

Companies have also required a surging number of learning and development professionals on contract to complement existing human resources teams.

This is to ensure the best internal training programmes are created to benefit most of their current workforce.

Projected salary levels

There is an expected uplift of five to 10 per cent for most roles compared to 2011, as companies recognise the need to offer slightly higher remuneration to attract and retain contract staff.

When permanent candidates make career moves, there is an expected increase on their last-drawn salaries, and the same can be anticipated in contract placements.

These bigger salaries are also to compensate for the benefits that temporary positions are not entitled to.

In the instance of increased basic salaries not gaining approval, companies are implementing completion bonuses that are valued by candidates and which contribute to increased retention rates.

Career progression

Contract professionals are motivated by career development, and the opportunity to contribute to key projects enhances their regional experience.

The ability to test new industries is also a major pull factor for contracting professionals.

The expectations from candidates are reasonable, but financial and fringe benefits are still important considerations in making a final decision on which organisation to join.