Top employment challenges for 2011
Singapore - Employers need to step up on their HR strategies as the lack of specialised talent, salary pressures, high candidate mobility and social media are set to dominate Singapore's workplace in 2011.
The "shallow" pool of specialised talent is threatening to curb the growth of the active labour market in Singapore. Chris Mead, general manager of recruiting firm Hays in Singapore, says companies' ability to overcome skills shortages will become the "defining characteristic of the employment market" this year. The banking and finance, IT and oil and gas industries in particular will face the biggest recruiting challenge.
Mead says Singapore will not be the only financial hub hiring suitably qualified banking professionals, neighbouring Asian markets are closing in on similar talent. Likewise, the predicted growth in the oil and gas industry over the next 12 to 18 months will tighten labour crunch in 201 as shipyards fulfil renewed orders.
Mead says, "Also, with the number of subsea and deepwater operations steadily increasing worldwide, subsea controls and pipeline engineering personnel will be very difficult to find."
According to Mead, other top employment challenges for 2011 include:
Employees are expecting higher salary increments as the job market improves while companies are willing to review salaries to ward off headhunters or make ridiculous counteroffers to retain top talent. But Mead says a successful counteroffer involves more than just money. "Employers need to make sure they address the underlying issue of why their employee decided to look for a new job in the first place."
While hiring migrants will ease the talent gap for most companies, Mead says there is still a lot of reluctance even though it can be an uncomplicated process. "Employers will talk about recruiting from overseas, but there are not many that actually do it, or that do it well."
More skilled Singaporeans are venturing abroad to garner international work experience, with Australia a top destination. London and the rest of Europe would be next once their economies strengthen, Mead says. It will get more than bonus schemes, health and life insurance, gym memberships, stock options or education benefits to stem the flow. Mead suggests providing "solid career development plans" as a start.
Growing influence of social media
Employers have been using social media to conduct background checks on job candidates for a while now. Mead says more HR practitioners will not only use this publicly available information such as social media profiles for recruiting, but also for promotions and succession planning in 2011. "It will be not just job seekers that need to ensure their online profile remains professional, but all employees."
- Hays Singapore
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