Hiring in Singapore: Engage talent amidst focus on Tech, ESG and staff retention

Monty Sujanani, Country Manager of Robert Walters Singapore

Compared to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Singapore saw a bigger appetite for hiring in 2022 – with two big drivers being the tech and healthcare industries.

Yet, according to Monty Sujanani, Country Manager of Robert Walters Singapore, “There remains a shortage of candidates in these areas. This is particularly the case for talent with niche skill sets in AI, data, software development, cybersecurity, and e-commerce.”

He also notes, “Another source behind the increased demand for talent this year was the Hong Kong lockdowns. Many companies moved their regional headquarters and headcounts into Singapore, and looked to hire in roles across Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain & Procurement, Finance and HR.”

More broadly, with the possible global economic slowdown, companies and candidates alike have been more open to contract roles.

Key 2023 drivers: Tech, ESG and staff retention

Monty expects that tech will remain a key driver behind the hiring demands for 2023. “This applies across a range of industries, where even commercial and business function roles will require candidates to have a level of proficiency in certain tech skill sets,” he says.

“Within the tech space itself, companies will look for commercially savvy candidates who can project manage or sell products built to support digital transformation for other businesses,” Monty adds.

There is also an expected increased demand for ESG talent in 2023.

Lastly, Monty points to the HR space and expects “a strong emphasis on staff retention, so HR professionals with solid experience in this area will be highly sought after.”

Tech skills, resilience, agility needed

When it comes to 2023’s in-demand skill sets, they will be largely tech-driven. Monty reveals, “There will be a pressing need for all technical skill sets relating to data science and engineering – and not just in tech companies. Other functions like finance, marketing and advertising will seek talent who can use predictive data and analytical skills sets to help the business make informed decisions.”

Beyond technical skills, companies will also prioritise soft skills. Monty notes that professionals who can demonstrate resilience, adaptability, agility and an eagerness to learn will have a strong advantage.

Motivating and engaging talent

Monty expresses, “For many candidates, money is no longer the biggest, or only factor when they make career decisions. We’ve observed that when employees feel burnt out, or bored because they are not learning anymore, this compels them to look for other opportunities. So, companies should make employees feel heard and keep them engaged to attract and retain talent in 2023.”

He advises, “Start by developing a purpose-driven culture where employees are aligned to the organisation’s vision and feel like they can deliver impact through their work. Create channels where employees can voice out their ideas and concerns, such as through regular check-ins with their line managers. Help them to keep growing by providing different job scopes or training opportunities outside of work.”

“Also consider making off-cycle salary adjustments. This is a good way to signal to employees that they are valued. Be creative with the type of benefits you can provide, like hybrid or remote work arrangements and more flexibility to arrange their schedules for work-life balance,” he recommends.

Monty also points out that candidates are prone to dropping out if interview processes are too long, so companies should definitely aim to streamline and speed up the interview process.

“Lastly, with a recession possibly coming up, companies will also do well to be further open to hiring talent through contracting roles,” he says.

Salary increments for job movers, especially for in-demand areas

“We expect to see salaries increase by 15% to 20% for candidates moving between jobs. Increments can go up as high as 40% for candidate-short areas like tech,” Monty reveals.

“For candidates staying with their current companies, salaries will be pegged to market standards,” he adds.

Find out more

Request access to our 2023 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends across industries in Singapore.