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Contracting is cool

Published on Friday, 24 Jan 2014
Kate Harper

It's time for Hong Kong professionals to embrace contract or interim employment status, as most of them now seem to appreciate the positives of such flexible arrangements.

Because demand exceeds supply in contract hiring, professionals are being hired for special roles that allow them to develop unique skill sets not found in permanent positions, thus enhancing their career prospects.

Local talents can also negotiate for much more generous employment packages to balance the risks of an interim contract. Furthermore, contract hiring lets younger professionals try different jobs, allowing them to find a focus for their career aspirations.

As the contract market matures and the number of strategic and career contractors expands, we expect ever-higher economic benefits.

In the past, the contract market was dominated by low-skill, low-wage employees. But as more and more banks hire senior, highly skilled and strategic contractors, we see higher expectations in terms of compensation. Hence, businesses should respond accordingly to attract and retain talent.

Based on our experience, contractors and permanent staff currently enjoy almost the same pay - a far cry from the salary gap between the two groups of workers noted in 2010.

Contractors rarely receive bonuses, so total compensation is reduced. However, at the top end involving skilled contractors, remuneration can be very attractive. For example, regional leaders for regulatory programmes have been achieving basic salaries of up to HK$2.5 million plus completion bonuses, putting them well above many of their permanent counterparts.

Kate Harper, director of financial services – Hong Kong, ConnectedGroup

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