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Contract Assignments in Hong Kong – the Good, the Bad and the Opportunity

6 months ago by ConnectedGroup
Contracting Article

​This article is written by Bonnie Chan, Head of Technology and Contracting & Payroll Services.

It was originally published in LinkedIn on 10th January 2022.

With markets as unpredictable as they have been and certain skillsets in significant demand, there has never been a better time to be a contract worker in Hong Kong with market rates likely to continue to rise in 2022.

Historically in Hong Kong, contract staff have been viewed as a way around permanent headcount restrictions by employers and, a way to earn a salary while looking for permanent work by employees. Whilst the development of contract and interim resource solutions has lagged behind markets like the UK, Australia and the US it has been steadily growing with both corporates and recruitment agencies having to offer more compelling reasons for people to remain in contract roles.

Candidates often perceive the negatives as;

  • No employee protection

  • No employee benefits, i.e. no medical, no annual/sick/statutory leave entitlement

  • No job security, i.e. employer can terminate any time

Obviously this somewhat depends on the strategy of the company appointing the contractor but, generally in Hong Kong (based on the HK employment ordinance), a contract assignment carries the same levels of employment protection as a permanent role, simply outsourced to a 3rd party agency. Even benefits have improved significantly with medical cover and annual leave allowances matching the permanent equivalent.

It is true that, as a contractor, there is the added component of 'renewal anxiety' as the contract completion date nears but this can open the opportunity for discussion around development opportunities and salary review. A good agency will also help you manage this process in advance. It is also balanced by the greater potential to avoid a long and complicated interview and selection process to get the job in the first place.

Candidates also fear;

  • No career path/prospects

  • It's not positive for the resume – viewed as 2nd tier to permanent work

In truth, many large companies increasingly rely on contractor resources as a core part of their business model and it is becoming more common for a company to have more contractors than full-time employees. This means that the exposure and skills development potential is no different to that of a permanent employee. As this becomes more common, other employers do not judge contract work experience negatively.

Additionally, we see other positives to contract employment;

  • It provides additional experience, knowledge, and skills that may have not been open in a permanent employment scenario

  • It creates opportunities to change industries within a relatively short period of time, with employers being less strict about requirements

  • A chance to work at a company and gain a sense of their culture and values fit before committing fully to permanent work

  • Salary increments often easier to approve over permanent employment

  • An opportunity to earn new systems and business processes (particularly valuable in fast moving markets like technology)

  • A good way to fill a career gap or return to the market after a break

If you would like to learn more about opportunities for contract/interim employment or to understand more about how to use flexible staffing resources or outsourced payroll services please do reach out:

ConnectedGroup – Contracting & Payroll Services

  • We have provided payroll, contracting and interim recruitment services across a wide range of industries and functions for 20+ years

  • We have an experienced contracting & payroll services team

  • Our Contractor Care team handling on/off boarding, payroll, timesheets and leave management receive excellent feedback from our contractors and clients

To gain more detailed insights or to discuss permanent or contract talent solutions, please contact Bonnie Chan at bonnie.chan@connectedgroup.com.