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The recruitment scene in Hong Kong has seen rapid growth in the number of contract opportunities over the past few years. Contract hires were traditionally hired as interim solutions to save cost and to fill the roles of full-time employees on extended leave such as sabbaticals and maternity leave.
However, increasingly, contract professionals are hired to implement and transform projects. Companies have even recognised the need to attract and retain talented contractors, with some organisations offering additional benefits such as completion bonuses at the end of a contracted term.
Despite this increased demand, many candidates still have reservations about being part of the contingent workforce. Such roles are often seen as unstable compared with a permanent position.
Related: Why contracting is a career path that could work for you
However, the landscape of temporary employment is changing in Hong Kong, and there are now more reasons to consider a contract role. Here are seven reasons:
Contracting is a smart way to broaden your experience and diversify your skills. Gaining exposure to a wide range of companies, industries and assignments is an opportunity to continually learn new skills and gain exposure to different management styles, cultures, processes and practices. This bank of broad experience is then transferable to your next job.
Also, very often, contract roles are positions that need to be filled urgently. However, at times, employers are willing to overlook any minor gaps in expertise if a candidate has most of the skills the company is looking for.
Such flexibility, which is not often seen for permanent positions, allows contract employees to add more skills, like mastering a new tech system or work process, to their resumes.
A key benefit of contracting is the opportunity to build relationships across a range of different companies. Providing excellent service to each employer will help to build your reputation as a talented and reliable expert. Creating a vast network and strong reputation can help you obtain further contract work or open the door to more permanent opportunities.
Searching for the ideal job often comes down to who you know as well as what you know. Taking up contract roles can help you to build valuable industry contacts who may, in turn, provide a lead to a future position. For instance, a new colleague may know the hiring manager of a role you would be suitable for and recommend you.
A role could also open up internally in another team or department due to a merger, new project or resignation. If you can impress your current supervisor with your work ethic and skills, he or she may recommend you for the role, allowing you to move within the organisation. Again, having already demonstrated your capabilities, you will likely be ahead of other interested job applicants.
Related: Finding your contracting career path
Contracting is a great way to get your ‘foot in the door’ of desired companies, allowing you to prove your worth and show how you fit into the corporate culture. It will enable the employer to assess you for upcoming roles and allow you to experience the company/position before committing to permanent employment.
A contract role is also a good entry point into a multinational corporation (MNC). A stint at an MNC often has several advantages, including learning and development opportunities working with experienced colleagues familiar with translating industry best practices into reality. Having a well-known global company on your CV will make you more marketable to future employers as well.
A contract role is perhaps the perfect opportunity for you to show your capabilities. For example, if you have been hired as a human resource assistant, highlight your payroll administrative skills or ability to speak another language. These additional skills will help you stand out from other job seekers, giving you a better chance at a future role within the company.
Related: How to kick-start a successful career as a full-time contractor
If you are out of work or between jobs, contracting is a great way to stay in the job market and keep your skills current. Contracting can be a helpful stepping stone to your next role as it can be undertaken while seeking permanent work options, taking the pressure off the job search and giving you current referees.
In certain sectors, contractors are paid significantly more than permanent employees in similar roles. It is not uncommon for contractors to earn up to twice as much as their permanent counterparts, with the bonus of overtime pay for every extra hour worked. This does, however, need to be balanced against no paid sick leave or annual leave.
Related: How to make a successful career change
If you’re undecided about the next step in your career journey, a contract role may be perfect for you. Contract opportunities can offer you a taste of a wide variety of industries, allowing you to make an informed decision on the types of roles or office cultures that work best for you.
Contracting can provide constant stimulation for people who enjoy a diverse working life. Contractors often work on various projects across different environments, locations and industries, meeting new people in new companies with each new assignment.
Even if you decide that the position is not a good fit, you will have the opportunity to make a graceful exit at the end of the contract without future employers questioning your loyalty and commitment. It was, after all, a temporary role.
Read more:7大未被錄取的原因在兩個工作機會之間做出選擇Common interview questions for contracting jobs
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Page Personnel (EA Licence No. 71375) is a brand name of Michael Page International (Hong Kong) Limited 米高蒲志國際(香港)有限公司 (Company No.176887, EA Licence No.73125) is part of the PageGroup. Office address: Suite 1803, Central Tower, 28 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong