The gig economy should be your next career choice
The gig economy has been around for years and Singapore has been at the forefront of maintaining its modern workforce. At a glimpse, Singapore has kept unemployment at 2%, among the lowest in the world. We are also one of the very few countries who adopt the value of tripartism – which refers to a meeting of minds amongst government members, unions and employers – to tackle workplace issues that comes with a modernising workforce.
With a growing millennial generation and aging population, it is essential for us to consistently evaluate hiring strategies and the working environments that we cultivate. This is so as to ensure we help support both sides of the workforce to adapt and stay relevant in the market. As a result, we find out the impact of the gig economy and why people continue to choose contracts as a career choice.
Why are people choosing contractual employment?
Figures state that worldwide, an increasing number of professionals are working as a freelancer. By 2027, roughly half of the workforce will consist of contractors and freelancers. In general across Singapore, most contractors would have experiences either working on a permanent basis, or have gained a substantial amount of working experience during small stints. Whether you are a manufacturer working for a pharmaceutical plant, or a software developer in a top bank, here are the main benefits of taking on a contract position.
- Greater freedom
The freedom the life as a contractor provides is one of the most important reasons professionals choose to stay in the gig economy, or switch out from permanent roles. With work-life balance being an important factor on the agenda, this is the answer to strike that balance.
You can choose to commute less with remote working options, work flexible hours, and try out a company before you decide to move in for a longer period of time. Contractors usually feel more acknowledged, depending on their skills and the variety of projects. This makes their work more vibrant and mentally stimulating, as most of them would also be exposed to working with the latest technologies across all industries. Figures by Wisebrand show that overall, the number of contractors are happier than other professionals. If you are looking for an opportunity that gives you the flexibility to manage and prioritise your time, contract positions are roles that you should consider.
- Immediate start
More often than not, contract jobs do not require headcount approval. What this suggests is that you will be able to start almost immediately. For industries like the financial sector which faces budget issues, organisations are more likely to convert contractors into permanent roles. This is because it is more probable that seeking a new external hire would involve additional costs such as training and development.
Contractors do have their fair share of training and upskilling to do as well to stay relevant in the market. However, they do have an upper-hand when it comes to possessing the transferrable skillsets below.
Top transferrable skillsets that contractors need
Adapting to change is what keeps us relevant, valuable and at the forefront of competition.
As a contractor, you would more than likely be exposed to a new job focus, new projects, and new surroundings compared to in permanent roles. This is however not to say that you will need to change the core aspect of your specialisation. Being adaptable is applied in situations of challenges where you will need to think on your feet for backup solutions to potential problems.
- Be a specialist with a second-skill
Large organisations, especially pharmaceutical plants, have temporary projects that require a specialised skillset. A common example is web development – an SME may need a developer to create a website for a new trial product, which may or may not be continued. Another example is an SME that is a tax service, who wants to create a series of educational videos for marketing or internal training. It would be impractical for these SMEs to permanently hire the talent, as the need is just temporary. Contractors can fill this need on a project basis, acting as “expertise on demand”.
Whilst being an expert at what you do is important to secure your job, second-skilling — developing your skills in a sector other than the one you work in — is necessary for career resiliency.
What is in it for your organisation with more contract roles?
Streamlining hiring processes for the contingent workforce is a top priority for organisations. As a result, improvements are experienced in various areas including talent management, quality of talents, performance management of talents, and better oversight of hiring costs.
Reported by EY, two in five organisations expect to increase their use of the contracts workforce by 2020. In addition, one in three employers of 100,000 employees or more expect to use 30% or more contract workers within the same timeframe.
What can organisations do to attract contractors?
To make contract roles seem more lucrative, organisations can also look to increase the benefits for contractors. For example, many companies have started to include year-end bonuses within contractors’ monthly packages, as well as provide monetary compensation for reduction in medical benefits or in replacement of reduced days of leave.
Organisations in Singapore will need to start looking at salaries and benefits’ packages that will attract local hires to apply for contractual roles. With this, the perception towards contractors will slowly shift and will naturally lead to a higher supply of contractors in the market which is especially crucial when your country is short on talent.
This also helps to normalise the concept of contracting as it gives a similar perspective to what a permanent position can offer.
Are you ready to join the gig?
If you prioritise the above benefits and opportunities mentioned in your career progression, companies are similarly opening their opportunities to build their pipeline for 2020. Specialists are opting for flexible work schedules as well as fixed-term project roles. This is especially relevant for commercial, manufacturing and engineering roles where the market is candidate-led; i.e. contract workers can choose the projects they want, command competitive salary rates and take time off or move on to another project.
Building the pipeline for 2020, organisations will continue to on-board more talent to test, innovate, and develop products that empower their customers to experience greater services. If you are interested in finding out more about current opportunities in the market, please contact us through the form below: