Singapore bosses concerned about talent search and retention

T.C. Seow

Singapore bosses are all concerned about retaining and finding skilled talent, according to a report released by recruitment firm Robert Half. The firm's Employment Report for the second half of 2014, based on a survey of 225 senior executives in Singapore, shows that Singapore's corporate leaders are even more concerned about hiring than they were six months ago.

The survey covered 75 senior leaders from the banking and financial services sector; 75 Chief Financial Officer (CFOs) from the commerce and industry sector companies; and 75 Chief Information Officers (CIOs).

Notably, respondents across the board expressed concern over losing top talent. All the senior leaders (100 percent) from banking and financial services who were surveyed remarked that they were concerned about retaining top talent, as compared to just 91 percent in the first half of the year. For the IT sector, 96 percent of the respondents were worried about talent retention - up 5 percent from the first half.

However, business confidence remains high, as Singapore's corporate leaders are also planning to increase or maintain current staff levels over the next six months. For business leaders in the banking or financial services sector, 49 percent plan to add new permanent staff, with 41 percent maintaining current levels.

Another 7 percent are freezing all new hires, while only 3 percent plan to reduce headcount.

Hiring within finance and accounting in the commerce and industry sector will remain buoyant in the second half of the year. Fifty-five percent of CFOs are planning to add new permanent finance and accounting staff, while 39 percent will be maintaining their current headcount. Only 5 percent are freezing all new hires and 1 percent forecasting a reduction in headcount.

Recruitment of technology professionals will be slightly less active than for finance and accounting professionals with 44 percent of CIOs planning to add new permanent staff, 49 percent maintaining current levels, while 7 percent freezing all new hires. None are looking to reduce headcount.

Stella Tang, managing director of Robert Half in Singapore, said: "We expect the hiring market for all three sectors to be particularly active for the next six months, as companies move to drive growth plans and take advantage of the global upswing of the economy despite the current labour crunch."

"Companies will have to look at options besides simply increasing remuneration if they wish to attract and retain the best talents whilst keeping overheads low. Pro work-life balance and better employee engagement policies will have to be leveraged effectively to keep Singapore-based organisations globally competitive," she added.

Robert Half Employment Report, 1H2014
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