Aug 30 2022

5 Ways Businesses Can Thrive Amidst Singapore's Talent Crunch

“The global talent crunch could potentially cost nations trillions of dollars in unrealized annual revenues by 2030. Learn how Singaporean businesses can avoid getting caught up in the talent war.”

by  Benjamin Marsili, Co-founder & CEO, Whire

According to the Korn Ferry “Future of Work Talent Crunch” report, looking at the talent-supply gap in 20 developed countries, Singapore is likely to miss out on $29.2 billion of unrealised output by 2030 in the financial and business services sector alone.

“The talent crunch will be even more damaging for small but currently mighty spots like Hong Kong and Singapore. Singapore’s loss could be equivalent to 6% of its economy.”

The reasons cited?

  • Global growth requiring highly talented workforce
  • Demographic trends with a declining birth rate over the last decade
  • Underskilled workforces unable to address the performance demands
  • Tightening immigration rules and guidelines from countries with a talent surplus

“The impact of this talent crunch is so significant that the continued predominance of sector powerhouses is in question - from London as a global financial services center to the United States as a technology leader to China as a key manufacturing base.”



According to the Ministry of Manpower, while resident employment is back to pre-covid levels at about 97%, the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed population rose from 1 last year to 2.42. 

The government and organizations can still plan ahead and tackle the talent crunch effectively by considering a few key things. 

Turnover will Intensify, Learn How to Manage it

The existing workforce is experiencing high wage compressions as their salaries don’t align with the new hires’ salaries. Although Singapore has been relatively immune to the impact of the great resignation wave, 2% workforce turnover is expected.

Organizations should focus on employee wellness. And no, pizza parties are not the answer! You need to take meaningful steps to care for your employees and ensure their growth and wellbeing. A simple way to achieve this is to link them up with mentors and coaches (see: https://livemore.app/employee-wellness/).

Upskill, Don’t Replace

As Singapore has limited opportunities for growing the resident workforce, upskilling the existing workforce is critical. 

Companies benefit more by upskilling existing employees, as shown by NCS’s Nucleus 2.0 Program.

“Nucleus is a 5-year program that equips you with professional training, technical expertise and industry experience in your chosen field of specialization. This program will help you develop your ICT skills and accelerate your career as you work on technology projects that make a difference in the lives of people.”

Achieve Recruitment Excellence to Hire and Onboard Faster

Organizations must become agile even in the most traditional areas such as candidate sourcing, candidate assessment, onboarding and performance management. That’s where HRTech platforms and Recruitment Operations kick in.

Recruiting is moving away from being sales centric and requiring talent teams to spend most of their time on outreach and coordination. Recruiting in 2022 is about building a streamlined talent pipeline. The focus is on removing bottlenecks and intermediaries to reduce wait time, measure and improve results to achieve recruitment excellence.

Futuristic platforms like Whire are built to enable companies to hire with trust and transparency. Human connections, not algorithms alone, are the way forward. 

➡ Who knows the ideal candidate? Humans.

➡ Who can vouch for them and recommend them? Humans.

➡ Who can stake their reputation? Humans.

➡ Who genuinely cares for them and will refer them to the RIGHT job? Humans.

With Whire, we are smarter together and make personal connections our greatest assets.

Remote Work Enablement Leads to Borderless Hiring

While Singapore is projected to experience a heavy talent crunch, India is projected to have a skilled-labor surplus of around 245.3 million workers by 2030. India is the only country found in the KF study expected to have a surplus, courtesy its vast supply of working-age citizens and government programs to boost employee skills.

Singapore government’s proactive move towards the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India is spot on, but will it suffice in complementing the local workforce without dismissing local upskilling opportunities?

Employers must adopt a balanced stance and play their part in considering building a borderless company culture. This will enable experts in other countries to complement and support the local workforce. Hiring abroad has never been simpler thanks to solutions such as Singapore’s global employment platform Skuad.io.

Last Choice: Expand, Relocate

Fast growing companies will have to consider opening subsidiaries or even relocating their headquarters in different countries to strategically reposition themselves where talents are located.

Corporate flight would be a threat to Singapore’s income and status. This would in turn compel the government to embrace more flexible labor rules, reduce the complexity and friction of entering and leaving employment, and relax the immigration rules.

Final Thoughts

“It is only through the partnership of people and technology that the full potential of both can be realized. To secure their future, companies must look to address the talent crunch now.”

The future of work isn’t just limited to trends such as remote work or a 4-day week.

HR leaders, founders and CEOs must look a decade ahead to sustain their growth strategy without taking talent availability for granted. It’s now or never, the HR function needs a seat at the table and be accountable to high standards of growth enablement and cost optimization.

Benjamin Marsili is the Co-founder & CEO of Whire and a Founder Institute graduate. He has a master's in Computer Science and 10+ years of experience in Tech across France, the Netherlands, Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore. He is a fierce promoter of HR Tech and modern recruitment practices. 

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