If Hong Kong is a springboard into China, Singapore has positioned itself as a pan-Asian hub for organisations looking to expand into multiple markets across the region. Always a leading destination for professional and executive expats from the West, the growth of multinationals seeking a regional base to explore and test new products for local markets has made Singapore even more popular. To meet the needs of global organisations looking to develop new products and services for local markets, the $64 million Institute of Asian Consumer Insight was set up in 2011 to study the consumption habits of Asian customers and serve as a research, training and executive development centre.
Tax incentives for key industries and those setting up research and development facilities add to the appeal for the electronics, retail, professional services, information technology, and medical, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. With so many opportunities for skilled professionals,unemployment is extremely low — though higher among the resident population, causing the Government to recently review immigration regulations for foreign workers, including professionals. Some market commentators expect the move will potentially lead to labour shortages and further wage pressures that may see some companies relocating to emerging markets in the region or beyond.
All this means demand for talent will remain very high in Singapore and workforce planning, leadership development and training will play an important role in retaining top talent — and unlocking the Government’s productivity agenda. Singapore and Hong Kong currently lead the region in workforce planning, but their efforts will continue to be tested in the future as the two nations also share the highest employee mobility rates in the region.
78% of HR and business leaders believe keeping pace with rapidly evolving technology to enhance workforce performance and productivity will be a challenge. But it’s good to see that Singapore organisations are proactively addressing this challenge with 35% looking to invest in new technology to drive business efficiency, and 34% looking to pursue product and/or service innovation.
Looking to the future, organisations in Singapore are poised to use every available strategy to improve productivity and continue to position Singapore as the most attractive hub for regional headquarter investment.
Start building your world-class talent strategy in Singapore with the following tips:
- Think global, act local. With a quality education system and a strong presence of global companies, Singapore is a great place to build a base of local talent to help organisations better understand and access new Asian markets.
- Improve access to talent. As the search for skilled talent becomes harder, consider outsourcing all or part of your talent management or recruitment process to experts with proven talent networks to help you find and attract top talent with specialist skills.
- Unlock leadership potential. The need to improve the leadership pipeline is a big challenge for organisations in Singapore and there are some innovative new tools to tackle the problem. Follow the lead of more than half the employers surveyed in the 2014 Randstad World of Work Report and use talent analytics to identify high potential employees for development and make workforce planning more efficient.