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'Hire local' drive sees employers wooing S'poreans abroad

Employers in Singapore are taking to wooing overseas Singaporeans to widen the candidate pool amid the talent crunch here.


EMPLOYERS in Singapore are taking to wooing overseas Singaporeans to widen the candidate pool amid the talent crunch here.

The Robert Walters' Global Salary Survey 2015 has found that the domestic talent pool is going to get even tighter this year, as the Ministry of Manpower's drive to recruit local talent gathers momentum.

With employers increasingly seeking to hire Singaporean talent, organisations and the government are looking to lure overseas Singaporeans back home.

The professional recruitment consultancy said returning Singaporeans will bring to the table both international exposure and a knowledge of the Singapore business culture, which will make them assets to companies seeking to build a core of local professionals.

Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters, said: "This creates opportunities for a more dynamic workforce and offers potential employers varied professional experiences to draw from."

The findings of the annual survey, released yesterday, was based on the analysis of Robert Walters' permanent, contract and temporary placements in 2014 across the 24 countries in which it has a presence.

Continuing pay increments this year are another consequence of the talent crunch.

Last year, employees who switched jobs commanded an average salary increase of 10 to 20 per cent, said the survey.

The government's recently-introduced Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), which requires companies to consider local candidates before Employment Pass (EP) holders, is expected to continue to drive salary levels higher this year.

Another recruiting giant, Hays, said, however, that large salary increases are not expected.

Its 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide released on Tuesday said that 59 per cent of employers in Singapore raised salaries by 3 to 6 per cent last year. This year, 54 per cent will offer increases of that quantum; only 13 per cent will increase salaries by more than that.

To compile its salary guide, Hays polled 2,361 employers in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan.

Robert Walters said that, besides driving pay rises, Singapore's FCF led to job vacancies taking longer to fill in 2014, with companies trying to source Singaporean talent both at home and abroad.

Looking ahead, Robert Walters expects competition for candidates to intensify, particularly in the areas of regulatory control, internal audit, risk and compliance; the current increased demand for specialists in these areas follows from the implementation of regulatory measures by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Also in demand are marketing professionals skilled in online content, project delivery, mobile and applications development and user experience, on the back of businesses continuing to invest in digital strategies.

Other sought-after candidates are those in accounting and finance who are skilled in audit, tax and pricing, as well as experienced HR professionals with business partnering skills.

Mid-to-junior IT roles will also be hard to fill because of the limited local talent pool.