Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Thursday January 24th 2019

Jobless accounting and finance professional lamenting about pitfalls of contractual jobs

Hi Gilbert,

I came across your website and decided to write in.

I am a middle age accounting and finance professional with more than 10 years of experience.

I am facing problem whereby my job history is not very good.

The average period I stay for each of my permanent role is 2 years plus and usually its less than 3 years.

Except for my first job where I stay much longer, but that is not directly related to accounting and finance field.

I have valid reasons that are not by my choice such as company restructuring and poor job fit. There were also reasons for career

Matters got worse when one of the perm role I got into was a poor job fit and the working environment was toxic. So I left the role in 6
months as I was informed that I will not be confirmed.

Thereafter, I could not find a perm role and 6 months later, I took up a contract role with a MNC as I do not want to waste any more time, and subsequently another contract role with another MNC.

Both roles were with well-known companies, mid-senior level, complement well with my previous experience and provide very good exposure.

The only drawback is that each of these contract role lasted for less than 1 year each even after contract renewal.

Whilst working on contract, I continue to seek permanent roles both within the MNCs as well as externally but with no luck.

Now that my contract role had ended, I find that I am being ostracised by employers and head hunters while seeking for a permanent role due mainly to my job history, even though my salary and skill sets meet or even exceed their expectations.

Some of the head hunters and recruiters propose only contract roles to me even though they have permanent opportunities on hand.

A strong wake-up call came for me when a head hunter suggested that my career is over which is my worst fear. I am not very old – less than 40 years and have at least more than 10 to 15 years of working life left.

I feel lost and my future unknown with a big question mark. I do not want to be working on short-term contract roles for the rest of my
life. Even if I am willing, there will come a time where this will not work out.

Should I take a chance with another contract role and hope a long term role might come out of it? This will risk further jeopardising my poor job history that I am trying to fix.

A recruiter suggested to me that I should not take up another contract role any more.

Given the job market slowdown now, employers are picky over permanent hires and I feel that this is also true for contract hires now.

I am not sure how long it will take for me to find a perm role. If it is even going to come at all…

Is it worth the risk to tweak and stretch the employment year of one of my earlier job experience to limit the damage on my resume?

Thank you for reading my long letter.



Editor’s note: We are arranging to see the writer soon.

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7 Responses to “Jobless accounting and finance professional lamenting about pitfalls of contractual jobs”

  1. Bithaqah says:

    When i was unemployed in the whole year of 2012, i took up three contractual jobs. Im a unigrad; class of 2010. Thankfully unemployment was over for me and i managed to get two permanent -based joba on two separate occasion. Just need to alter your resume so employer see what they want to see. Best of all, im a minority Singaporean so Im sure you can make it easier ;)

  2. sal says:

    Uniquely Spore, its common now to find graduates, master degree or PhD become a taxi driver or a hawker. How about an ex MP become one….to lead by example?

  3. Tony Voon says:

    This is a tough nut to crack, but frankly I do not think Thomas’s main problem is these so called short stints in various jobs. An average 2-3 years tenure in each company is quite common these days in the private sector and can hardly account for the lack of opportunities.

    The fact that Thomas was in 2 contractual positions with MNCs and somehow unable to secure a renewal or conversion to permanent is troubling. This suggests that his employers for unknown reason is just not impressed with him and allowed the contract to lapse. Of course the standard reply is no contract due to “restructuring”, but usually you should be able to secure a few renewals and even a conversion.

    I do not know what is Thomas’s definition of him claiming to be in mid-senior level, but it seems rather unlikely a mid-senior position in Finance in a MNC would be done on a contractual basis. In a sizable MNC a middle level Finance position would be a local Financial Controller, so a mid-senior position would be something like a Regional Financial Manager or subject matter expert which usually pays 150-250k p.a. Somehow it just seems bizarre that positions at this level are done on fixed short term contracts.

    There are 2 possibilities as far as I can tell:

    1) Performance not up to par. Sometimes you really need to talk in depth with someone to find out what happen and not take everything at face value.

    2) Obsolete skillsets. At his age (I guess close to 40?) companies expect some sort of specialism or business strategy mindset, so it could be that his skillsets are still staying at the general bookkeeping level which in this day and age is obsolete due to influx of foreigners or offshoring of such basic jobs overseas.

    In summary to answer his questions:

    1) Should he take on contract jobs? Yes, there is nothing on the plate anyway. Having a contract job looks better than nothing on CV, does wonders for self esteem compared to staying at home and most importantly, keeps him abreast of the latest workplace and professional developments.

    2) Should he fabricate his CV by faking earlier employment history? Doesn’t matter. As mentioned earlier, I do not think his problems are due to that in the first place.

  4. Belinda says:

    Hi Thomos, which company is that recruitor from? Do not feel defeated by their nonsenses as they know nuts except profits making.

  5. It’s true that prospective employers don’t look favourably on candidates with a checkered job history like yours because they don’t know you and only has your resume to look at.

    Networking is important here and finding a job through somebody who knows you and knows that you can and want to stay for the longer term would be good.

    The other alternative is to try to turn a contract job to a permanent one. In your next contract job, make use of your contract job well, work really really hard and well at it -maybe even do more than you are required to. You need to really impress. Usually, employers will take notice if you’re a very good worker and offer you a permanent job within the company.

  6. Mridul Deka says:

    Hi, as suggested by recruiter I too feel you should not take up any contact job anymore. It happen to one of my friend too though he was in IT domain. He is sure capable but still having difficulty finding job. I being myself in the same domain as you are in feel contract job actually doesn’t create value to us. For sometime you might make some more money than others but still from job security side you are not secure. Than most companies in case finance they need people who are loyal and understand their process. Finance jobs are I feel different than others as its kind of uni-dimensional. Jobs in finance domain are not actually short term basis (compared to IT jobs) and companies values employees coming through the ranks to underrated the business from every angle. I strongly suggest you look for permanent job rather than contract and in that case if it takes a bit more time lets be it.

  7. Usha says:

    Try to get in touch with old bosses to see if they have any openings for you.maybe you might need to change carrers.see a career coach.these days there is no employer-employee might have to accept that.

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