Recruitment activity has been booming in the Antwerp region. Analysing the volume of advertised temporary finance jobs through Jobfeed*, there has been a 76% increase in job advertisements this past first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Amongst this increase of jobs, demand seems to be the highest for temporary contract accountants.
Kevin Blockx, manager of Walters People Antwerp, explains this trend and highlights what are the benefits of temporary contracts.
Demand for temporary finance staff has significantly increased in the Antwerp region. Why is that?
Kevin: "We have indeed noticed a big increase in hiring volumes across the Antwerp region. This has been a direct result of the strong economic conditions and widespread business growth which we have been observing in Belgium since last year. As investment levels increased, companies looked to increase their headcount in order to meet business needs. The increased demand for fixed-term employees is due to two main reasons: fixed-term contracts provide organisations with access to skills that they do not have, or do not have enough of, and may not need over the long term. In addition, where a company would need to rapidly increase capacity, perhaps because they have just acquired a new business or want to implement new procedures, they can recruit contractors to complement existing permanent employees. Fixed-term employees are also still the preferred solution to cover maternity or sick leaves.
Which finance profile is the most sought after in the Antwerp region?
“Similar to elsewhere in Belgium, the demand for accountants with two to five years of experience is the highest in Antwerp, especially on a fixed-term basis. These professionals are the ideal solution to help businesses with their year-end closing or to support the launch of new projects for example. Given the increasing amount of temporary vacancies in the Antwerp region, the number of available accountants has become limited and organisations have been increasingly turning to specialist recruitment agencies to find the right candidate in a short period of time”, says Kevin.
What are the advantages of hiring an accountant on a fixed-term basis?
Kevin: “Companies large and small depend on accountants for so much more than taxes and payroll. Accountants are a vital cog in any business machine and a crucial factor in the success of an organisation achieving its goals relies on its workforce. If there has been an increased workload and it becomes apparent that certain tasks have to be delegated then fixed-term employees could provide a relief. Another reason to hire someone on a fixed-term contract would be to ensure business continuity if a member of staff is on sick leave or maternity/paternity leave. At that point, it is advisable to transfer daily accounting tasks such as accounts payable and accounts receivable for example, to a temporary member in the team”.
Can accepting a temp job be beneficial for a finance professional?
“Contract jobs can definitely be very beneficial for professionals. They can offer greater flexibility, a better work/life balance and the ability to learn new skills within different environments. For professionals who don’t know which direction to take in their career, working as a temp is also a great way to experiment until they find their ideal job. Contract jobs provide professionals the opportunity to test different sectors and company environments - how a SME operates compared to a multinational or the difference between working in an accounting firm compared to working in the accounting department of an organisation - helping them to make the next all-important career decision, all the more easier and constructive.
Unfortunately, we see that junior professionals often prefer to accept a permanent contract when looking for their first role. But I would strongly recommend recent graduates who are about to kick-off their career to be open to job offers on a temporary basis as well,” says Kevin.
What are the benefits for a recent graduate to accept a temporary contract?
Kevin: “ Taking on a temporary contract, allows professionals kicking-off their career to prove their worth , so they already have one foot in the door. A company may not always be able to offer a full-time job right away, making a good first impression is the easiest way make yourself memorable for when an opportunity does arise and they need to hire someone.
Contracts of three to six months are also often extended or even transformed into a permanent job offer. Such experience is of course a big added value on the CV of a recent graduate. If more of these temporary assignments follow, it is an absolute enrichment of their resume and will increase their chances of building an impressive career path”.
*Jobfeed provides a current overview and analysis of nearly every new job posted on internet pages from Europe.
Would you like to know more about temporary contracts?
Our consultants in Antwerp would love to help you find the right temporary finance professional to join your teams. Are you looking for a fixed-term job? View our latest vacancies in Antwerp.