21 January 2015

Robert Walters woos Singaporeans overseas to alleviate talent crunch In 2015

The newly launched Robert Walters Balik Kampung campaign is aimed at widening the existing Singapore talent pool and creating a more dynamic workforce.

The professional recruitment firm is currently engaging with 2,000 white collar Singaporeans overseas, and has even helped some of them secure jobs in Singapore even before they return. Overseas Singaporeans have the advantage of international exposure coupled with knowledge of the local business culture, which companies in Singapore are increasingly seeing as an advantage, Toby Fowlston, Managing Director of Robert Walters Singapore, said. 

Tim Klimcke, Associate Director, Sales, Marketing, Procurement and Supply Chain, Robert Walters, added that Robert Walters' focus on overseas Singaporeans has been in place for about 12 months. It is a win-win situation, he said, as Singaporeans overseas are given access to up-to-date information on the job situation in Singapore while employers are given access to candidates whom they haven't had access to before.

"It's about creating a community and giving people access to knowledge and employment opportunities. What they think and what the reality is could be two different things," he said of overseas Singaporeans. 

The competition for Singaporean talent has intensified over the past few years and will continue to increase in the year ahead, according to the annual Global Salary Survey* from Robert Walters.

Fowlston noted that the government and employers in Singapore are increasingly seeking to hire Singaporean talent as supported by the Fair Consideration Framework, which
requires hiring managers to consider Singaporean talent
first for job vacancies before looking elsewhere. In 2014, Fowlston said, job opportunities remained vacant for a longer time as companies gave priority to Singaporean talent. As the Singaporean talent pool is still limited, competition for their skills remained strong, he said.

Where supply is particularly scarce, candidates can see hefty salary increases, he said. Figures from the survey suggest that in-demand candidates who switched jobs in 2014 could command an average 10 - 20% salary increment. A strong compliance candidate could receive an average increment of 20 to 30% on their current base salary, the survey reports.

“The employment landscape of 2015 will likely see the competition for Singaporean professionals accelerate. To fulfil the market’s demands, organisations are looking outside of the tight candidate pool and recognising the importance of attracting overseas Singaporeans back home. This creates opportunities for a more dynamic workforce and offers potential employers varied professional experiences to draw from,” 
Fowlston said.

Other highlights for 2015:
  • Due to tightened regulatory measures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), employers continue to experience skills shortages in the areas of governance such as compliance, internal audit, legal and risk
  • As businesses continue to invest in digital strategies, IT and marketing professionals skilled in online content, project delivery, mobile and application development as well as user experience will be in demand
  • HR professionals are expected to be more involved in the wider business activities and experienced practitioners with business partnering skills are likely to be sought-after. Employee attraction, retention and talent development remain a key priority 
  • Candidates within accounting and finance skilled in audit, tax and pricing will see opportunities in both permanent and contract positions as demand outstrips supply 
  • Contracting recruitment will continue to grow in 2015, particularly where companies are apprehensive around permanent headcount and look towards alternative sources for potential talent 

In 2015, Robert Walters says employers will need to offer competitive packages in order to encourage candidates to change roles, and estimates that an increment of 15% may help to influence the outcome. However, it adds that the market for junior to mid-level professionals remains fluid, with candidates much more willing to consider a career move. 

Professionals with business partnering, pricing, tax, treasury and internal audit experience will be high demand, it said.

*Compiled by Robert Walters' dedicated research division, the Salary Survey is based on an analysis of placements made across the company's network of offices and specialist disciplines during the course of 2014. Now in its sixteenth year, the Survey is used by employers, HR managers and employees for benchmarking salary levels within their industry.