Singapore employers head overseas for talent
Singapore - Nearly nine in ten of employers in Singapore have indicated they will recruit from overseas if they can't find qualified local talent, a sharp increase from 62% last year.
According to the latest findings by global recruitment firm Ambition, 70% of 256 decision makers in Singapore companies said their principal recruitment challenge revolved around the talent shortage in the first half of 2011. Respondents from finance, technology, human resources (HR) and sales and marketing sectors cited lack of qualified candidates (28.3%), salary inflation (10.9%) and staff churn (28.3%) as key factors.
Paul Endacott, managing director for Ambition in Singapore, said that even though more companies are hiring from overseas, they are looking out for Asians returning home.
"There's the definitely a real push to bring more Asians into senior roles," Endacott said. "Whether you're hiring from the US, Europe or Australia, we're often asked if there's an Asian coming back to the region."
He explained this is because companies are increasingly looking for more diversity in their senior management, as well as wanting to hire someone with experience working with Asian cultures and markets.
Endacott added there are more talent coming into Singapore from the US and Europe, as the labour markets there are not faring too well. Employees from Hong Kong are also keen to move to Singapore, where the standard of living is higher.
Although most companies have the desire to hire overseas talent, more than half are unwilling to pay a premium for them as 33% were shackled by staff budget constraints. Endacott said, “Headcount increases will need to be justified and every hire will be scrutinised.”
Yet with nearly four-fifths of respondents anticipating growth for the second half of this year, 95% have given salary increments for 2011 and paid out last year’s annual bonuses.
Endacott suggested for HR to create more attractive retention strategies such as flexible working hours, challenging job scope, and structured career paths to keep their top staff and maintain their headcount budgets.
He added that sending staff for training and development opportunities will work, not only retain them, but also help reaffirm the company as an employer of choice, thus attracting more top talent to the organisation.
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