THE hiring outlook in the banking and financial services sector in Singapore continues to look positive in the second half of this year. In particular, there has been a surge in the supply of contract roles.

This is because employers in the sector prefer to avoid a lengthy approval process for a permanent hire, which usually requires five to seven approvals. They want a quick solution to the manpower gaps they have.

Back-office roles are often contracted out to candidates. Contract lengths of up to 12 months are common in a bid for employers to secure the best talent. Recruitment specialist Randstad has seen the number of roles available increase by 22 per cent in the same period.

Contract roles can be an attractive option, particularly for those looking for a new challenge or to stay in employment in between long-term roles.

Yet common misconceptions about contract roles still exist. Here are some of the benefits:

Gain valuable work experience

With more and more banks and financial institutions hiring workers on a contract basis, being open to these jobs can widen your choices and increase your chances of securing a great job opportunity.

You can work in a variety of settings, learn how to deal with different colleagues and customers, how different banks operate and gain new skills that you may not acquire if you work only in one bank.

International and local banks offer their unique benefits, so by trying out roles in both types of banks you can determine which type of bank suits you better.

A stepping stone to a permanent position

When working as a contractor, you will get to know the people inside the bank, including senior managers and other decision-makers, as well as gain access to the internal job boards. This means that if there is a relevant opening for a permanent position, you will have a higher chance of getting the job if you have demonstrated a high level of capability.

Most employees in Singapore agreed with this when they participated in Randstad’s latest Workmonitor Report Q2 2013 survey. Four out of five (81 per cent) think that for them, temporary work can be a stepping stone to a permanent job.

Therefore, it is vital for a contract worker to recognise the importance of a contract job, and give outstanding performance to secure any future opportunities.

Flexibility and experience

If you are a young professional hungry for experience, or a retired professional looking to take on a banking project, contract work is a good option.

By spending a few years working on different contract jobs, you may have the opportunity to work on various projects in different types of banks. This breadth of experience will strengthen your position in the banking and financial service job market.

In addition, you will also have the flexibility to take time off between contract jobs. Some banks are willing to offer attractive pay for a short-term assignment or for a highly urgent role that requires an immediate start.

Contract work experience is also highly valued in the banking and financial service sector and can add to your competitiveness, so keep your mind open because you never know where an opportunity may lead you.

Article by Gerard Milligan, strategic account director at Randstad, a global HR services company. For more information, visit www.randstad.com.sg