SINGAPORE — Due to various Government measures to moderate the inflow of imported labour and encourage the hiring of local workers, Singaporeans will be in demand in the job market this year, said two recruitment consultancies yesterday, following surveys with the business community here.
Hence, companies here are willing to dangle a pay raise of, on average, 15 to 20 per cent to poach Singaporean employees, the Global Salary Survey by Robert Walters found.
Mr Toby Fowlston, Managing Director at Robert Walters Singapore, said: “We believe there will probably be a lot more counter-offers this year, simply due to a greater demand for local talent. Consequently, we expect to see greater wage inflation over the course of this year.”
Policymakers have put in place several initiatives to control the inflow of foreign workers and encourage the hiring of Singaporeans. For example, the Fair Consideration Framework, which will take effect in August, requires employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders.
Firms which have a disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans at the professional, manager and executive levels will also be scrutinised under the framework.
The hiring practices of some financial institutions were also singled out previously, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Manpower talking to banks here about plans to develop a Singapore core.
The consultancy’s Manager of Financial Services Orelia Chan said: “The trend we’re seeing is actually an increasing number of overseas Singaporeans looking for opportunities to return home because they see more potential growth in the financial services industry here.”
She added: “Financial services institutes are open to hiring employees with such professional profiles as they have both overseas or regional and local experience.”
Meanwhile, the Robert Half Employment Report — which was based on a survey of more than 400 corporate leaders here — found that firms will be hiring more aggressively in the first six months of this year, due to improved confidence in the local economy.
Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half in Singapore, said: “Besides offering the right remuneration and benefits … offering one the chance to work overseas will motivate Singapore employees better than any other perk. This is one area where the big companies — the multinationals — have an edge as the opportunities for international postings are more likely.”
She added: “Another big draw for Singapore employees is the opportunity for career progression … This is an area where small and medium enterprises can compete better, offering employees a chance to work directly with decision-makers.”
But just as companies are vying for talent in the job market, many are also looking inward and focusing on staff development, Mr Fowlston noted.
“With the increasing competition for top Singaporean talent, firms are recognising the importance of developing existing employees with transferable skill sets. This allows for more promotion opportunities from within and rewards employees with an expanded scope of responsibilities,” he said.