Nov 22, 2012

Singapore - Singapore firms face problems attracting critical-skill workers: survey

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SINGAPORE: A new survey has found that more companies in Singapore face problems attracting critical-skill employees needed to increase their global competitiveness, compared to companies in Asia Pacific.

But they face less problems retaining them.

The survey by global professional services company Towers Watson also found that fewer companies in Singapore face problems attracting and keeping recent university graduates, compared to companies in Asia Pacific.

The survey, a study of 1,605 companies globally, out of which 796 were from Asia Pacific, found that 79 per cent of employers in Asia Pacific said they have problems attracting critical-skill employees, while 73 per cent of employers have difficulty attracting high-potential employees, compared to global figures of 72 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.

The figures for the 63 companies from Singapore that participated in the survey are slightly higher, with 82 per cent of employers saying that they have problems attracting critical-skill employees and 77 per cent saying that they have difficulty attracting high-potential employees.

Companies from Singapore fared better when it comes to attracting recent university graduates, however, with only 8 per cent facing such problems, compared to 24 per cent in Asia Pacific.

"The demand for key talent is as strong as ever, in spite of challenging economic conditions and heightened global competition. We find that many employers are not taking advantage of opportunities to attract, retain and engage key talent by offering a value proposition, work environment and the total rewards programs that are most important to them," said Dhritiman Chakrabarti, Asia Pacific Leader of Rewards at Towers Watson.

There also appears to be a mismatch between what employers are offering when looking to attract talent and what employees are looking for.

According to the survey, employees in Asia Pacific are more focused on competitive base pay, job security and convenient work location.

Employers, on the other hand, are emphasising other items, such as career advancement, challenging work, and the organisation's mission, vision and values.

In Singapore, employees are most focused on competitive base pay, followed by job security and learning and development opportunities, while employers are emphasising job security, followed by career advancement opportunities and competitive base pay.

When it comes to retaining talent, both Asia Pacific and Singapore employers seem to have a better understanding, and are more aligned with employee views, with the top three drivers cited by both parties being base pay, career advancement opportunities and relationship with their supervisors or managers.

But employers underestimate the impact of trust and confidence in senior leadership in retaining employees.

The survey also found that Singapore employers' expectations of individual employees have stayed the same or increased, but bonus funding levels have not kept pace.

And compared to their Asia Pacific peers, a greater proportion of employees in Singapore work more hours than normal, yet a smaller proportion feel that they experience excessive pressure.

- CNA/de

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