Strong hiring demand for returning Singaporeans

February 9, 201510:03 am574 views
Strong hiring demand for returning Singaporeans
Strong hiring demand for returning Singaporeans

SINGAPORE: More than 200,000 Singaporeans are based overseas. And there is increasing demand for them as their experience abroad makes them attractive to employers in Singapore’s globalised economy.

Human resource consultancies said the returning Singaporean has the advantage of international exposure as well as knowledge of the local business culture. And it is estimated that employers are willing to pay a premium of up to 30 per cent – in industries where the experience is relevant.

“They may be bringing back skills and expertise which perhaps haven’t developed yet in Singapore, as well as language skills,” said Mr Toby Fowlston, managing director in Singapore at Robert Walters.

“The second one is the fact that they’ll be a good counterbalance with regards to cultural knowledge as well, particularly if they’re working for organisations based in Europe or US. So they’re going to have had that experience of working in the western culture and integrating that with the Asian culture as well.”

As Singapore’s talent pool grows in diversity, recruitment experts said firms are depending less on foreign labour. Certain sectors in particular are driving the demand for local talent with overseas experience.

“The practice of bringing expatriate skills into Singapore is not as needed as before as our local skills talent pool is stronger than what it used to be 10 to 15 years ago,” said Mr Roger Olofsson, business director of Hays. “But there will definitely be a willingness to pay a premium if the candidates have other skills or experience relevant to the job. Particularly in financial services, in IT to a large extent, in the start-up and venture capitalist environments that we see growing in Singapore.

“And in media, creative industries, and digital agencies, and so on, that’s where the creative component as well as international outlook and multicultural experience is very valuable.”

Beyond competitive salaries to attract Singaporeans to return, recruitment firms said employers are taking measures to retain those already on board.

“It’s the career development, so not only – what’s in it for me today, but also the next year and the coming years – which is extremely important for them in making the decision of returning or not returning,” said Adecco Singapore Country Manager Femke Hellemons. “And I think Singapore has a lot to offer in that area because of the international companies and regional headquarters that are located here.”

In a recent survey done by recruitment consultancy Hays, about a third of Singaporeans abroad said they would consider returning due to more job opportunities and a faster career path.

Towers Watson said salary rises and career progression opportunities are better in Singapore compared to most developed countries in the western world.

“Towers Watson has seen western multi-national companies including more levels of job grades and promotions into their global job structure, when the global job structure is applied in Asia. Companies that do not cater for sufficient career progression risk their top performers taking flight,” said Mr Richard Yeo, director of Rewards, Talent and Communication in Singapore for Towers Watson.


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