The demand for permanent employees is skyrocketing at the moment. In almost every sector, the number of vacancies increases month after month, but often the recruitment process takes a long time, or vacancies simply remain unfilled. What role do temporary workers and financial starters play in this? Jens Spittael-Speeckaert, senior manager at staffing specialist Walters People, explains  

The importance of the month of May

In the first half of this year, we noticed - compared to last year - a 13% increase in the number of temporary vacancies on the Belgian labour market.  Jens: "Within Finance, May turned out to be an absolute highlight in terms of the number of temporary vacancies: 46% more jobs were published than a year ago. Many organisations strengthen their finance team during the summer months with student workers, so that permanent employees can take their holidays or catch up on backlogs. Those vacancies are usually published in large numbers in the month of May. Two years ago, for example, this was a lot less, because working from home was the norm and there was less demand for job students. But that hype is now back!

Accountants, controllers and insurance specialists  

Although the number of vacancies in January 2022 was similar to the same period last year, in May we, once again, saw a huge spike in the number of vacancies for temporary accountants: no fewer than 36% more vacancies were posted than in May 2021. Temporary financial controllers also remain in high demand: in May, the number of vacancies was at its highest level since January 2021.   

In the insurance world, the call for insurance specialists is getting louder: in May, the number of vacancies for these specialists was no less than 57% higher than a year ago. The fact that more people realise the importance of good insurance, and the ever-increasing regulations (e.g., the introduction of IFRS 17) surrounding insurance, mean that more workers are needed.  

Temporary contracts as a solution?

When organisations find it difficult to hire on a permanent basis or when the search for the ideal candidate takes too long, they often turn to temporary employment agencies. Jens: "After all, temporary employees can be deployed quickly so that the permanent employees in the team are not unnecessarily overloaded and the backlog of work accumulates."

In sectors where talent shortages are growing and the job market is candidate-driven, Walters People sees an increasing number of organisations opting for temp-to-perm (temporary to permanent) contracts. In the first half of this year, this type of financial vacancy was 43% higher than a year ago. "This type of employment obviously offers many advantages for employers in the current labour market", says Jens. "With candidates often receiving multiple job offers at the same time, it is essential today for employers to decide quickly if they want to bring talent on board. By offering a temp-to-perm contract, organisations do not run too much risk. If it later turns out that the new employee does not quite fit the bill, it is easier to make the switch.  

Employees are not scared away by a temp-to-perm contract either. They usually prefer a permanent contract, but they find this intermediate step acceptable. Jens: "We notice this particularly among the younger generation. Often recent graduates do not yet have a concrete career plan in mind. But when the opportunity presents itself to be recruited by some big name in the business world, they go for it, even if it is initially on a temp-to-perm contract."  

Record number of vacancies for starters in finance 

Given the tightness of the labour market, organisations are increasingly open to considering school-leavers to fill their vacancies. The number of jobs for finance starters set an absolute record this year, and we even noted an increase of no less than 74% compared to May 2021. Such vacancies are published before the summer, which means that final-year students often already have an employment contract signed before they graduate. 

"Have you just graduated or almost graduated but haven't found a job yet? Don't panic. The job market is currently very favourable for starting finance professionals. However, do not only focus on vacancies with a permanent contract, but also open up for temporary job offers. By working as a temporary employee in several organisations and positions for a certain period, you learn a lot about the business world, your skills and about which tasks you prefer to do. Moreover, it allows you to expand your network quickly and to add some positive references to your CV. And that opens the door to finding your permanent dream job faster," concludes Jens.


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