Finance and accounting contractors are experiencing a rising demand for their talents as employers and local authorities kick-start projects postponed during last year’s recession, according to specialist global recruitment firm Robert Half International.
The increase in the hiring of contract workers is a sign that companies are gaining confidence and are now focused on improving their profits through revenue growth as well as controlling costs, says Ronil Singh, Division Manager at Robert Half New Zealand. That’s compared with last year when firms were concerned with cutting their costs.
“Businesses are starting to increase their head count, especially in areas like sales teams who will drive revenue growth. And as sales are increasing the use of temps in back office functions is growing as businesses are still not certain of what permanent headcount needs will be,” says Singh, who manages temporary and project recruitment for Robert Half New Zealand.
“Employers are looking for change catalysts, those who deliver improvements to a business, and are focused on doing things more effectively and efficiently. There is also the need for contract professionals in the area of transactional support.”
From the last quarter of last year, Robert Half has seen an increase of around 10% in job orders for temporary assignments for Clerical Accountants, who are responsible for processing the higher levels of transactions produced as economic activity picks up. There is also healthy demand for Project Accountants; those who analyse existing systems and processes and recommend improvements, as well as identify where costs can be cut in a business.
“Project Accountants and interim Finance Managers are in definite demand as businesses pick up again on projects that were put on the backburner during 2009.”
Singh says Robert Half is also seeing demand for contract workers in the area of infrastructure, manufacturing and construction as public projects are kick started. Companies are also increasingly looking to centralise back office services such as Payroll, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.
Singh says the hiring of temporary staff also bodes well for the pace of full-time hiring throughout New Zealand. The country’s jobless rate dropped sharply to 6% in the first quarter of the year, from 7.1% three months earlier, the biggest decline on record.
“As the confidence level in the permanent market has started to pick up, temporary and short-term requirements will probably rise as well,” says Singh. “So what we’re seeing in the finance and accounting contract market is likely to signal better times for New Zealand’s employment situation as a whole in the months to come.”
Document: Demand increases for contract employees
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