Hong Kong Financial Services Firms Have Increased Their Use of Interim and Temporary Staff

Financial services firms in Hong Kong have increased their use of interim and temporary staff in an attempt to manage costs, according to new research published today by Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy.


The research is based on responses from 150 senior leaders in financial services companies in Hong Kong to a survey developed by Robert Half.


The majority (62%) of those polled said that their company’s use of interim or temporary staff had increased since the global financial crisis, showing the continued necessity Hong Kong businesses have to engage interim human resources to augment permanent staff. This was most pronounced in medium sized businesses, where two thirds (66%) of financial services leaders said there has been a significant shift towards using interim and temporary staff.


“It comes as no surprise that financial services companies have increased their skilled interim and temporary workforce," says Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half in Hong Kong.


According to Anand, businesses are relying more heavily on a flexible workforce to access specialised skills that either do not exist amongst their permanent employees or are needed for projects. These include project financing, outsourcing of processes, or acting as interim managers while a new operation is set up. It makes completes business sense.


“Many companies faced a tough lesson on the consequences of over-hiring and were forced to make mass redundancies in the past. Now, they are bringing in a mix of permanent and temporary professionals – which gives them the flexibility they need to cover the workload. In addition, hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake for businesses, so many see their temporary staff as giving an on-the-job audition,” says Anand.


The reason for the uptake in interim and temporary staff, according to the survey, was to manage costs effectively. More than half (56%) of those surveyed highlighted cost savings as the driver of increased temporary staff, followed by the ability of skilled talent (40%). Only 4% of respondents said they used temporary staff to manage changes in infrastructure.


“There are also many benefits to working on an interim or project basis for skilled professionals as it can offer career flexibility and provides the opportunity to network and bolster the CV. Some interim jobs in the finance, accounting and technology industries are also known for their attractive compensation," adds Anand.

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