Despite the increasingly competitive nature of today’s HR landscape, Singapore’s progressive family-friendly work policies continue to contribute significantly to the attractiveness of its business environment – according to a new report by TMF Group, a leading provider of international business administration support services.
The Global Business Complexity Index (HR and Payroll) analyses the key HR and payroll practices and trends across 76 jurisdictions worldwide. The latest report is the second edition of a new series of three studies by TMF Group, which are developed based on statistically-weighted data and qualitative research by local market experts globally.
Most jurisdictions globally – including Singapore – require employers to offer their workforce a set of ‘traditional’ benefits, such as maternity leave and paid vacation time. But the report shows that Singapore goes further, especially in its range of ‘family-first’ work policies. The city-state is one of just 33 percent of jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific to offer shared parental leave, and it also provides for generous maternity and paternity leave benefits, child care subsidies and flexi-work arrangements.
Additionally, the report found that the Asia-Pacific region fared better than its counterparts when it comes to the ease of hiring. When grading the complexity of hiring overseas staff, the Asia-Pacific region scored 6.2, meaning the jurisdiction is simpler than the global average of 6.4 in the level of complexity of hiring overseas staff. Acknowledging that a highly-educated local workforce will also continue to be an attractive prospect for investors, the report underscored the importance for jurisdictions to look both externally and internally in order to build a robust workforce.
“In Singapore, efforts to nurture a skilled workforce, provide sound education and support continuous upskilling have contributed to the nation’s status as a business epicenter in the heart of the region,” said Kim Leng Siaw, TMF Group’s Managing Director for Singapore. “Businesses operating in Singapore are more easily able to harness talent originating from multiple jurisdictions, and this tends to contribute to better work performance and business outcomes.”
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The Asia-Pacific region also scored 4.2, making it the least complex of the reported three regions for hiring subcontractors. The global average is 4.5. This means that businesses in the region are able to hire short-term contract workers with greater ease and agility in response to changing business demands. However, with the growth of the “gig economy”, the report also highlighted that governments in the region are increasingly taking the responsibility to protect workers from exploitation and income inequality. In Singapore, the tripartite workgroup has put forth recommendations to protect subcontractors, such as requiring businesses to use written contracts for short-term workers, having more government agencies involved in mediating payment-related disputes, and enforcing contributions into the national saving scheme, the Central Provident Fund.
“As businesses expand and build their workforce in new jurisdictions, they must be able to swiftly comply with the evolving employment legislation in these territories,” said Siaw. “HR and payroll services are no longer just about pay cheques, and managers must learn to redefine traditional HR models to meet the needs of a nimble, diverse and multigenerational workforce.”
An increasing number of organisations now see HR and payroll’s preeminent role in generating tangible business impact. Keeping pace with the latest trends in the industry should thus be a critical priority for companies, especially in the face of a much more demanding and talented workforce.
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